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Capitals, Tampa Bay, Canucks Win in First Round of NHL Playoffs

The top-seeded Washington Capitals have a two-game advantage against the New York Rangers in the National Hockey League Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

Jason Chimera and Jason Arnott scored two minutes apart in the second period last night at the Verizon Center in Washington to give the Capitals a 2-0 victory against the eighth-seeded Rangers. Michal Neuvirth stopped 22 shots for his first playoff shutout as the Capitals took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Game 3 between the Capitals and the Rangers will be played tomorrow when the first-round series moves to New York.

At Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 to tie their Eastern Conference series at one game apiece.

Eric Brewer scored 2:02 into the game to put Tampa Bay ahead 1-0. Vincent Lecavalier scored on a power play five minutes later, followed by Nate Thompson’s goal for a 3-0 lead late in the first period. Martin St. Louis scored on a power play late in the second period for Tampa Bay, and Mattias Ohlund scored an empty net goal with 2:05 left in the game.

Craig Adams scored Pittsburgh’s only goal in the second period.

The series moves to Tampa for Game 3 on April 18.

At Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Canucks, favored to win their first Stanley Cup, defeated the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 to take a 2-0 advantage in their Western Conference series.

Daniel Sedin scored two goals for the Canucks, who move to Chicago for their next game against the Blackhawks.

At Honda Center in Anaheim, California, the Anaheim Ducks beat the Nashville Predators 5-3. Bobby Ryan had two goals for the Ducks, who split their Western Conference series at one game each.

The Predators host Game 3 tomorrow in Nashville.

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