The Washington Capitals drew first blood against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 3-2 victory to start their NHL Eastern Conference semifinals on Saturday.
Tomas Fleischmann scored the tiebreaking goal with 18:14 remaining, and rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov stopped 34 shots to help Washington to its first four-game winning streak in the playoffs since 1991.
Alex Ovechkin and David Steckel also scored for Washington.
Sidney Crosby and Mark Eaton scored for the defending Eastern Conference champion Penguins, who went 0-for-5 on the power play after going 1-for-18 in the final four games of their first-round series against Philadelphia.
Fleischmann got the only goal of the third period. Alexander Semin brought the puck into the zone and sent a diagonal pass to Nicklas Backstrom, who passed the puck across the ice to Fleischmann. That left the left side of the net open, and Fleischmann easily beat Marc-Andre Fleury for his second goal of the playoffs.
Game 2 is on Monday in Washington.
Blackhawks 6, Canucks 3
At Vancouver, British Columbia, Patrick Sharp scored twice to tie it and David Bolland put Chicago ahead with a short-handed breakaway to help the Blackhawks tie their second-round series at a game apiece.
Down 2-0 after power-play goals by Sami Salo and Alexander Edler in the first seven minutes, Chicago took over Game 2 with a strong second period against Vancouver.
Sharp put the Blackhawks on the board midway through, sliding a rebound between the legs of Roberto Luongo, then wiring a one-timer over the goalie's glove during a 5-on-3 power play three minutes later.
Bolland gave Chicago its first lead of the series with 3:10 left, beating Luongo with a strong forehand deke after being left all alone behind the defense.
Ben Eager and Patrick Kane extended the lead in the third. Henrik Sedin cut the deficit to two but Bolland finished with his second goal into an empty net.
Nikolai Khabibulin got his first victory over the Canucks since 1998, ending a 12-game drought against Vancouver.
Game 3 is on Tuesday in Chicago, where the Blackhawks are unbeaten in these playoffs.