- Associated Press - Sunday, April 15, 2012

PHILADELPHIA — Danny Briere, Matt Read and Max Talbot each scored two goals to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to an 8-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday in a fight-filled Game 3 in the opening-round series.

Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux also scored to help the Flyers take a 3-0 lead in the combustible best-of-seven series. Game 4 is Wednesday night in Philadelphia.

The goals might be hard to find on a highlight reel. This one was all about the brawls more suitable for a UFC card. Three players were tossed in the first period. There was a rare fight between superstars when Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby squared off against Giroux.

The Penguins and Flyers talked trash, laid the smack down, and played one wildly entertaining game. The result was still the same. The Flyers rallied from another early deficit to win and put them on the brink of a sweep.

Jordan Staal and James Neal scored twice for a Penguins team pushed to the limit by its hated, intrastate rival. Marc-Andre Fleury was benched after allowing six goals in two periods. He has allowed a staggering 17 goals in the first three games.

NHL scoring leader Evgeni Malkin (109 points) has yet to score a goal for the Penguins.

The most unlikely scene came when Giroux and Crosby went at it against the backboard.

Crosby ignited the scrum when he twice jabbed goalie Ilya Bryzgalov’s glove against the ice. Giroux, third in the NHL in points this season, shoved Crosby from behind. Crosby, clearly not caring about his history of concussions, retaliated by shoving Giroux’s head against the glass.

Timonen and Letang then exchanged shots, and Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek and Pittsburgh’s Steve Sullivan were penalized for roughing.

Timonen and Letang were hit with 5 minutes for fighting and were ejected because they were assessed a major penalty after the original fight had started.

Predators 3, Red Wings 2

DETROIT — Shea Weber turned boos into silence with a goal early in the first period, and Nashville held on to beat Detroit to take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Henrik Zetterberg scored with just less than a minute left to cut the Red Wings’ deficit to one, but they couldn’t net the equalizer.

Panthers 4, Devils 2

SUNRISE, Fla. — Stephen Weiss scored the first two playoff goals of his 10-year NHL career, Jose Theodore stopped 23 shots and Florida got its first playoff victory in nearly 15 years, beating New Jersey to even the first-round series at a game apiece.