PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Whitney and Marian Hossa scored less than three minutes apart in the first period and the Pittsburgh Penguins held the Philadelphia Flyers to 18 shots Tuesday night in a 4-1 victory.
The Penguins lead the Eastern Conference finals, 3-0.
“This might have been our best defensive effort all year,” Whitney said.
The Penguins are a win from advancing to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr led Pittsburgh to titles in 1991 and ’92.
“We’re five wins away from our goal, but this next game is so important,” said Whitney, who scored for the first time in 30 games. “They’re playing for their season.”
R.J. Umberger answered with a first-period goal for the Flyers, but then the Pittsburgh defense took over. That made things easier for Marc-Andre Fleury, who finished with 17 saves.
Ryan Malone scored with 10:02 left to make it 3-1 and silenced a crowd hoping to see Philadelphia get back in it. Instead, the Flyers can be eliminated on Thursday. Hossa added an empty-net goal with 53.7 seconds remaining. Pittsburgh, which had 25 shots, is 11-1 in the playoffs and has led, 3-0, in all three series.
The Penguins, who lost all four regular-season games in Philadelphia, are the first team since the 1983 Edmonton Oilers and the fourth overall to win 11 of their first 12 in the playoffs.