(Reuters) - The Philadelphia Flyers grabbed a 3-0 first-round series lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins with an impressive but ill-disciplined 8-4 home victory on Sunday.
With their bruising Game Three victory, the Flyers are in position to sweep a Penguins team pegged by many as Stanley Cup favorites. Game Four of the best-of-seven series is on Wednesday in Philadelphia.
However, bad blood between the two once again boiled over in a game that featured 133 penalty minutes and the first-period ejections of Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang and Arron Asham along with Philadelphia’s Kimmo Timonen.
The early fireworks saw Philadelphia end their string of slow starts, scoring four times in the first period to move ahead 4-2 and avoid having to come from behind for a third straight game.
Danny Briere, Matt Read and Maxime Talbot each netted twice for the Flyers and Claude Giroux scored again after his hat-trick in Game Two.
James Neal and Jordan Staal added two goals for the struggling Penguins.
NHL points champion Evgeni Malkin has yet to record a goal in the playoffs and Sidney Crosby spent much of his time serving penalties for his involvement in scrums which extended to the third where there were multiple scraps.
In Detroit, Shea Weber continued to irritate Red Wings’ fans by playing a major role in helping Nashville grab a 3-2 road victory to take control of the first-round series.
Weber, fined $2,500 for hits he put on Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg in Game One, scored a first-period goal to help the Predators skate to a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven affair.
Game Four is in Detroit on Tuesday.
“We talk about great players, when there’s a little bit of controversy, stepping up,” Predators coach Barry Trotz told reporters. “When (Weber) came to the rink, he knew he wasn’t going to be the most likable player in the arena.”
The Red Wings were the top home team in the NHL during the regular season, but their momentum was halted by goaltender Pekka Rinne who made 41 saves in the triumph.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles. Editing by Patrick Johnston