- The Washington Times - Monday, April 19, 2010

OTTAWA (AP) — Even faced with the constant attention of the Ottawa Senators’ top pair of defensemen, Sidney Crosby keeps finding ways to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Crosby had a goal and an assist, Evgeni Malkin scored his third playoff goal, and Pittsburgh beat Ottawa 4-2 on Sunday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference series.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 20 saves and Alexei Ponikarovsky and Bill Guerin also scored for the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins, who won their second in a row following a 5-4 loss to the Senators in the series opener.

Crosby raised his playoff total to seven points in three games despite being consistently covered by Ottawa defensemen Anton Volchenkov and Chris Phillips.

“It’s a challenge every night in the playoffs,” Crosby said. “There’s not a lot of space and I think it’s important that you come ready to compete, especially for me individually. I know that playing against those two guys on defense it’s going to be difficult so I’ve got to be prepared to compete and find ways. It’s not always going to happen but I’ve got to be ready to compete, so that’s all I’ve been trying to do.”

Mike Fisher and Matt Cullen scored power-play goals for Ottawa. Brian Elliott stopped 20 shots.

“We’re still in it,” said Fisher, who tied it at 1 early in the second. “I mean, we’ve got another game at home here to even the series. We’ve got to focus on that game and nothing beyond and nothing about the past two games, just do what we’ve got to do to be successful.”

Game 4 is Tuesday night in Ottawa.

Malkin restored Pittsburgh’s one-goal lead at 2-1 in the second not long after Fisher drew the Senators even with a power-play goal 1:53 into the period.

The 2009 Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the playoff MVP, Malkin jumped on a loose puck beside Elliott and fired into an open net at 5:57 after the Ottawa goalie failed to poke it away.

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