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Sidney Crosby's hat trick powers Penguins to Game 1 rout of Flyers

Jonathan Bombulie
| Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 7:55 p.m.
The Penguins celebrate Sidney Crosby's goal against the Flyers' in the second period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins celebrate Sidney Crosby's goal against the Flyers' in the second period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin celebrates his goal against the Flyers in the first period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin celebrates his goal against the Flyers in the first period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Penguins goaltender Matt Murray dives across the crease to make a save on the Flyers' Scott Laughton in the first period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins goaltender Matt Murray dives across the crease to make a save on the Flyers' Scott Laughton in the first period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
The Penguins celebrate Bryan Rust's goal against the Flyers in the first period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins celebrate Bryan Rust's goal against the Flyers in the first period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
The Penguins' Carl Hagelin scores his first goal of the playoffs in the first period against the Flyers at PPG Paints Arena on April 11, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Carl Hagelin scores his first goal of the playoffs in the first period against the Flyers at PPG Paints Arena on April 11, 2018.
The Penguins' Bryan Rust's shot beats Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott in the first period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Bryan Rust's shot beats Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott in the first period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
The Penguins' Carl Hagelin beats Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott in the first period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Carl Hagelin beats Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott in the first period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
The Penguins celebrate Carl Hagelin's goal against the Flyers in the first period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins celebrate Carl Hagelin's goal against the Flyers in the first period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin gets off a shot past the Flyers' Shayne Gostisbehere that beats goaltender Brian Elliott in the first period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin gets off a shot past the Flyers' Shayne Gostisbehere that beats goaltender Brian Elliott in the first period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
A scuffle between the Penguins and Flyers during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
A scuffle between the Penguins and Flyers during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
The Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin splits a pair of Flyers defenseman during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
The Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin splits a pair of Flyers defenseman during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
The Penguins’ Derick Brassard comes back for the puck against the Flyers during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
The Penguins’ Derick Brassard comes back for the puck against the Flyers during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
The Penguins’ Phil Kessel splits a pair of Flyers defenseman during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
The Penguins’ Phil Kessel splits a pair of Flyers defenseman during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
The Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin fights to shield the puck from against the Flyers’ Shayne Gostisbehere during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
The Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin fights to shield the puck from against the Flyers’ Shayne Gostisbehere during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
The Penguins' Jake Guentzel celebrates with the bench after scoring on the Flyers in the second period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Jake Guentzel celebrates with the bench after scoring on the Flyers in the second period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
The Penguins chase Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott out of the net after scoring five goals on him in just over a period and a half in the second period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins chase Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott out of the net after scoring five goals on him in just over a period and a half in the second period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
The Penguins'  Sidney Crosby celebrates with the bench after scoring on the Flyers' in the second period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby celebrates with the bench after scoring on the Flyers' in the second period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Hats and shirts on the ice after the Penguins' Sidney Crosby gets the hat trick against the Flyers' in the third period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Hats and shirts on the ice after the Penguins' Sidney Crosby gets the hat trick against the Flyers' in the third period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Penguins' fans stand during the national anthem inside PPG Paints Arena on April 11, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Penguins' fans stand during the national anthem inside PPG Paints Arena on April 11, 2018.
Penguins' goaltender Matt Murray readies himself before puck drop against the Flyers in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Penguins' goaltender Matt Murray readies himself before puck drop against the Flyers in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Penguins' fans cheer prior to their first game of the Stanley Cup Playoff inside of PPG Paints Arena on April 11, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Penguins' fans cheer prior to their first game of the Stanley Cup Playoff inside of PPG Paints Arena on April 11, 2018.
Penguins goaltender Matt Murray makes a save during the first period against the Flyers in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Penguins goaltender Matt Murray makes a save during the first period against the Flyers in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Hats and shirts on the ice after the Penguins' Sidney Crosby gets the hat trick against the Flyers' in the third period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Hats and shirts on the ice after the Penguins' Sidney Crosby gets the hat trick against the Flyers' in the third period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Penguins goaltender Matt Murray dives across the crease to make a save on the Flyers' Scott Laughton in the first period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins goaltender Matt Murray dives across the crease to make a save on the Flyers' Scott Laughton in the first period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby celebrates his second goal of the game against the Flyers in the third period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby celebrates his second goal of the game against the Flyers in the third period during Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff first-round series Wednesday, April 11, 2018.

Call it a premonition. Call it learning from experience. Whatever it is, when Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz sees an airborne puck ricocheting around the net with Sidney Crosby anywhere near it, he knows what's going to happen next.

"He'll bat it out of the air and into the net," Schultz said. "Whenever the puck is near him, you know he's going to do something special."

Crosby did something special Wednesday night, all right. So did his teammates.

Crosby recorded his third career playoff hat trick, including another amazing feat of hand-eye coordination on a second-period goal, leading the Penguins to a decisive 7-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of a first-round series at PPG Paints Arena.

The final score indicates the quantity of offensive highlights the Penguins provided.

In addition to Crosby's hat trick, which tied Mario Lemieux's franchise record for career three-goal games in the playoffs, Jake Guentzel had a goal and three assists. Evgeni Malkin, Bryan Rust and Carl Hagelin also scored. It was the Penguins' most lopsided playoff opener since they beat Washington by the same 7-0 score in a first-round series in 2000.

"We executed," Crosby said. "We capitalized on our chances."

The quality of their highlights, however, was probably what was really demoralizing to their cross-state rivals.

The Penguins, to put it mildly, put on a show.

Crosby's eye-popping goal came about nine minutes into the second period.

A partially blocked Brian Dumoulin shot from the left point fluttered toward Crosby, who was jockeying for position with Flyers center Valtteri Filppula in the left faceoff circle. Crosby used a waist-high backhand swing to bat the puck in off the shoulder of goalie Brian Elliott.

It was the third goal out of midair in the past three weeks for Crosby, who would take credit only for being in the right place at the right time.

"They don't always go in, so it's great to see them go in," Crosby said. "You've got to go to the net this time of year. That's usually where pucks are."

Crosby completed his hat trick with a pair of goals about three minutes apart in the third period.

Malkin's entry onto the highlight reel, meanwhile, came about 14 minutes into the game.

He came out of the penalty box after serving a hooking minor, retreated into his own zone and picked up a blocked Shayne Gostisbehere shot inside the right point.

Malkin zoomed through the flat-footed Flyers, getting enough of a step on Gostisbehere to get off a hard backhand shot that nestled into the net behind Elliott's blocker to make it 3-0.

"They're two highlight-type goals from elite players," coach Mike Sullivan said. "There aren't too many guys that can make those types of plays. These guys sometimes we marvel at what they do out there with their talent level and their instincts. I think those two goals are just an indication of how talented they are.

"They're exciting to watch. They're certainly inspirational-type goals for our team. That's what these guys bring."

Not wanting to be left out, goalie Matt Murray provided a memorable highlight, too. About eight minutes into the first period, he made a diving glove save on Scott Laughton, who was alone on the doorstep, to preserve a 1-0 lead for his team.

Murray made 24 saves to record his third consecutive postseason shutout dating to the final two games of last season's Stanley Cup Final.

Between Murray's flawless effort and Crosby and Malkin's highlights, the biggest challenge for the Penguins heading into Game 2 on Friday night might be avoiding overconfidence.

"It's one game," Crosby said. "Whether it's 7-0 or 1-0 in double overtime, it's one game. A big part of the playoffs is to get better every game and adjust and that's the way we have to look at it."

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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