WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- If there ever was a team shutout, this was it.
Despite the presence of Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr, the Penguins were held to 16 shots. Lemieux, who resumed his Hall of Fame playing career this season, had none in his first playoff game since 1997.
"It's playoff hockey," Lemieux said. "They didn't give us much and they played a good game defensively. They had a good game plan."
Jagr, the league's leading scorer the past four years, did not record a shot until the final 4 1/2 minutes. He had a chance to tie it from in front of the net with 1:20 to play but was turned aside by Kolzig.
"It was a great hockey game tonight from both teams," Penguins coach Ivan Hlinka said. "There was not much room to do something nice. But it was a great tempo. Everyone except for us enjoyed the game."
But Capitals defenseman Calle Johansson came up with the save of the game in the first period when he swept Jan Hrdina's shot off the goal line after the puck banked off a fallen Kolzig following a a 2-on-1 for Pittsburgh.
"We had our best chances in the first period," Hlinka said. "When you get a chance like that 2-on-1, you have to get the goal."
That was the closest the Penguins came to scoring. They ended up being shut out for the first time in 73 games since a 9-0 loss to New Jersey on October 28.
"We had good chances early and not taking advantage gives the home team a boost," Lemieux said.
Bondra scored 35 seconds into the second on the power play, blasting a one-timer that deflected off the left leg of Penguins defenseman Darius Kasparaitis and past rookie goaltender Johan Hedberg.
The goal was Bondra's 25th in the postseason, tying Dale Hunter's franchise record, and team-best sixth game-winner in the playoffs. His 10 postseason power-play goals are one off Hunter's club mark.
Hedberg was strong in his first postseason appearance, stopping 26 shots against a familiar playoff foe for Pittsburgh.
"He just did a great job, just like he did the last seven or eight games," Hlinka said of Hedberg. "It's just that Kolzig on the other side is a great goalie."
These teams are meeting in the first round for the sixth time -- all in the last nine years. Pittsburgh, which has won five of the previous six series, including the last three, posted a 7-0 rout in the opener last season and won in five games.
"It was a little bit of redemption after last year," Kolzig said. "Last year was a nightmare, one of my worst games ever."
Also in the Penguins' favor is the fact that the first game seldom determines the winner. Washington defeated Pittsburgh in four of five previous series openers.
"It's a marathon," Penguins left wing Kevin Stevens said. "It's going to be a war all series. They played well and it was a helluva hockey game. But we can play better."
The Caps got the first break of this best-of-seven with 11:31 left in the first period, when Johansson kept the game scoreless. Wayne Primeau and Hrdina skated down on a 2-on-1 for the Penguins. Kolzig stopped Primeau's shot and fell to his stomach.
"That was one of those saves where you say, 'We had to have that save,'" Caps coach Ron Wilson said. "The fortunate thing about hockey is that if you make a mistake up front, you have an eraser back there."
With Kolzig on all fours facing the left faceoff circle, Hrdina got off a bad-angle shot that hit the goalie's right skate and rolled toward the goal line. Johansson stepped in from the right side and swept the puck under Kolzig to force a whistle.
Referees Don Koharski and Stephen Walkom called for a review and replay officials ruled that Johansson got to the puck before it crossed the goal line.
"I honestly thought I saw a little bit of daylight between the puck and the goal line," Kolzig said. "But I knew we had a chance the longer they took to look at it."
After escaping a scoreless first period, the Caps went on a power play 28 seconds into the second, when Penguins defenseman Janne Laukkanen was called for holding.
Bondra needed only seven seconds to capitalize. The Caps won a faceoff back to Sergei Gonchar, who slid a pass from the left point to the right side, where Bondra blasted the puck toward the net. It deflected off Kasparaitis in front and fooled Hedberg.
"The key was winning the faceoff," Bondra said. "When Gonchar passed it over, there was a lot of room for me."
The Penguins, who were just behind the Caps with the fifth-best power play during the regular season, had just one chance with the man advantage.
Pittsburgh pulled Hedberg for an extra attacker and pressured Kolzig for much of the final two minutes. But the reigning Vezina Trophy winner was up to the task en route to his fifth postseason shutout.
After stopping Jagr with 1:20 remaining, Kolzig made a blocker save on Alexei Kovalev's shot from the high slot with 30 seconds left.
"You just say, 'How long can I hold my breath?' I found that you can hold it for 2 1/2 minutes," Wilson said. "You're looking around and it's like Custer's last stand with all the arrows flying around. You just hope it hits somebody's leg or something."
The Caps ended up recording their first 1-0 shutout in 146 playoff games. Five of Kolzig's 21 regular-season blankings have been 1-0.
Game Two is Saturday afternoon at the MCI Center.