Penguins punish sloppy Sens to edge ahead in series

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 contest and although Ottawa rallied to tie the game, second period goals by forward Evgeni Malkin and captain Sidney Crosby secured the win for the visitors.

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

Ottawa had split the first two games of the series in Pittsburgh but appeared sluggish on their return home and were a goal down just 1:17 into the game 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 finish.

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 powerplay 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 Denver, goaltender Craig Anderson set a playoff record by making 50 saves in regulation without conceding as the Colorado Avalanche claimed a 2-1 series lead over the San Jose Sharks with a 1-0 overtime triumph.

Rookie Ryan O'Reilly scored the game-winner just 51 seconds into the extra session and Anderson finished with 51 total saves as Colorado stunned the top seeded team in the Western Conference.

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

The West's second seed, the Chicago Blackhawks, got 23 saves from Antti Niemi in a 2-0 shutout win over the Nashville Predators that evened their series 1-1.

(Additional reporting by Jahmal Corner; Editing by John O'Brien)