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Penguins get jump on Wolf Pack

Tom Kostopoulos had a goal and two assists and Kris Beech snapped a tie with 11:34 remaining in regulation as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton opened the Eastern Conference final with a 3-1 win over Hartford on Tuesday night.

Attendance was 6,812 at the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza, where the Penguins will also host Game 2 on Thursday.

The Wolf Pack also lost goaltender Jason LaBarbera on Beech’s goal. LaBarbera left the game, reportedly with cramps related to dehydration. Head coach Ryan McGill said he expects the league’s MVP to start Game 2.

Andy Chiodo made 23 saves to improve to 7-1 this postseason for the Penguins, who have outscored their opponents 16-2 over their last five home games.

LaBarbera made 19 stops before yielding to Steve Valiquette, who did not face a shot in his first appearance of the playoffs.

Tomas Surovy had two assists for Wilkes-Barre, which scored twice on the power play. Cory Larose‘s power play goal was the only offense for the Wolf Pack.

The loss ended Hartford’s eight-game winning streak.

Eastern Conference Final schedule