Penguins beat sluggish Ottawa, take 2-1 series lead

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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Pittsburgh Penguins took advantage of some shoddy defending to beat the Ottawa Senators 4-2 on Sunday and take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven NHL playoff series.

The Stanley Cup champions scored on their first shot in a bad tempered game and although Ottawa tied the game, second period goals by forward Evgeni Malkin and captain Sidney Crosby put the game beyond doubt.

The Penguins -- still unhappy about a hit from Ottawa's Andy Sutton on Jordan Leopold in the second game -- came out in an angry mood and the game was marked by a series of crunching hits, fights and penalties.

Ottawa had split the series 1-1 in Pittsburgh but looked slow from the start at home and were down after just 1:17 when Alexei Ponikarovsky easily beat goaltender Brian Elliott.

Mike Fisher tied the game at 1:53 into the second period but four minutes later rookie defender Erik Karlsson lost control of the puck near his net, allowing Maxime Talbot to steal in and present Malkin with an easy chance.

Crosby scored on a powerplay to give his team a 3-1 lead at 19:15 in the second period, effectively killing off the game.

Bill Guerin added a breakaway goal at 4:27 in the third period while Matt Cullen scored a late power play goal for Ottawa.

In Philadelphia, Daniel Carcillo netted the game-winner with a wrap-around score at 3:35 in overtime to help the Flyers to a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils and a 2-1 series lead.

In Western Conference action in Detroit, Wojtek Wolski scored his third goal of the series with 32 seconds left in the second period to help the Phoenix Coyotes to a 4-2 victory over the Red Wings and a 2-1 series lead.

(Additional reporting by Jahmal Corner)