for this game

Hossa helps Penguins push Flyers to the brink

May 14, 2008 - 5:07 AM
PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are making short work of their Keystone State rivals.

All-Star Marian Hossa scored two goals as the Penguins moved within one game of the Stanley Cup Finals with a 4-1 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday.

Defenseman Ryan Whitney and Ryan Malone also tallied as second-seeded Pittsburgh grabbed a commanding three-games-to-none advantage in their third consecutive best-of-seven series.

Captain Sidney Crosby had two assists for the Penguins, who became the fourth team in league history to open the postseason with an 11-1 record.

The 1983 Edmonton Oilers were the last team to win 11 of its first 12 games in the playoffs. The Wayne Gretzky-led Oilers eventually succumbed to the New York Islanders, who won their fourth Stanley Cup in as many years.

Crosby, who wasn't even born until 1987, isn't so much worried about the Oilers' history as he is the Penguins' present.

"We're being consistent right now," Crosby said. "We have a great attitude. The reward you get for making sure that you take each game serious and that you're consistent - but I don't think we feel like we've archived anything. I think that we're just happy with the attitude and way we're working."

Pittsburgh native R.J. Umberger scored for sixth-seeded Philadelphia, which hopes to avoid being swept when it hosts Game Four on Thursday.

Only two teams have overcome a three-games-to-none deficit in NHL history - the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, who accomplished the feat against the Detroit Red Wings in the Finals, and the 1975 New York Islanders in the quarterfinals - against Pittsburgh.

"We cannot lose again. It has happened before where teams come back. We are in a pretty big hole, but look at the last series between San Jose and Dallas," said Philadelphia's Joffrey Lupul, referring to the Western Conference semifinal series in which Dallas won the first three games before San Jose collected the next two and pushed Game Six to four overtimes before being eliminated.

"San Jose was right there with a chance to come back in the series. I guess that's the thing you look for. We are not going to quit. We are going to come out in Game Four and play as hard as we can."

The shorthanded Flyers were playing without their top two defensemen - All-Star Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn. Prior to the start of the series, Timonen was diagnosed with a blood clot in his left foot, while Coburn was hit near the left eye with the puck just 1:51 into Sunday's contest.

After veteran blue-liner Derian Hatcher was penalized for hooking, the Penguins quickly converted on their first power play of the evening.

Whitney skated into the left faceoff circle and wristed a shot which deflected off captain Jason Smith and inside the left goalpost just 5:03 into the first period.

"That was crucial," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said of the early lead. "We wanted to try and dictate every time we come into a new building and you have a two-game lead. They was kind of our game plan to make sure we pursued the puck and to attack them as quickly as we can. After that, we committed defensively and we didn't give up much."

Hossa doubled the advantage just over 2 1/2 minutes later.

The talented Slovak skated through the neutral zone, weaving around Jeff Carter at the blue line before wristing a shot which sailed between the legs of both Lasse Kukkonen and past goaltender Martin Biron.

"It started out with us playing well defensively. Sid grabbed the puck in our zone and he just threw it to me," Hossa said as he recalled the play. "I just tried to use my speed. I made a move on the blue line and after I saw the defensemen, I just tried to shoot the puck through his legs. I don't think that the goalie saw the puck."

Umberger halved the deficit just over three minutes later.

After Vaclav Prospal's wraparound attempt was thwarted by Marc-Andre Fleury, the puck trickled out front to an unmarked Umberger, who alertly slipped the puck between the pads of Fleury.

Umberger has 10 goals this postseason - the most by a member of the Flyers in 11 years - and trails only Detroit's Johan Franzen, who has 12 tallies.

After the teams played a close-to-the-vest second period which featured little open ice and limited shots, Malone regained Pittsburgh's two-goal advantage midway through the third session.

Rookie Steve Downie's ill-advised pass led to Hart Trophy finalist Evgeni Malkin leading a 3-on-2 rush in the other direction. While the initial rush was denied, Malone corralled a rebound in the slot and backhanded it past Biron for his fourth tally of the postseason.

"We are frustrated a little bit, but that's normal in a situation that is not a good," said Biron, who finished with 21 saves. "We didn't play a good game either. Give Pittsburgh some credit, but I think that we're going to have to come up with something better, because the first three didn't work. We have to find something that works."

Hossa capped the scoring with an empty-net tally with 54 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

"I don't think that there is any lack of commitment on our team's part," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "We have got to find a way to play with confidence and execute with the pressure that we're receiving.

"They're on a roll and you can just see it. There is a lot of hockey left. Obviously it is not a situation that we would have scripted for ourselves."






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    Penguins 4, Flyers 1  FinalMay 13 11:45 PM
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    Penguins 4, Flyers 1  FinalMay 13 10:49 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 2 0 2 4
    PHILADELPHIA 1 0 0 1 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - (PP) RYAN WHITNEY 1 (SIDNEY CROSBY, SERGEI GONCHAR)
    5:03
    PIT - MARIAN HOSSA 7 (SIDNEY CROSBY) 7:41
    PHI - (PP) R.J. UMBERGER 10 (VACLAV PROSPAL, DANIEL BRIERE)
    10:59
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: PIT - RYAN

    May 13 10:04 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 4
    PHILADELPHIA 1
    3RD PRD: PIT - (EN) MARIAN HOSSA 8 (HAL GILL) 19:06

    Penguins 4, Flyers 1  3rd - 0:54May 13 10:01 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 3
    PHILADELPHIA 1
    3RD PRD: PIT - RYAN MALONE 4 (PETR SYKORA, EVGENI MALKIN) 9:58

    Penguins 3, Flyers 1  3rd - 10:02May 13 9:45 PM
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    Penguins 2, Flyers 1  3rd - 14:02May 13 9:36 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 2 0 2
    PHILADELPHIA 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - (PP) RYAN WHITNEY 1 (SIDNEY CROSBY, SERGEI GONCHAR)
    5:03
    PIT - MARIAN HOSSA 7 (SIDNEY CROSBY) 7:41
    PHI - (PP) R.J. UMBERGER 10 (VACLAV PROSPAL, DANIEL BRIERE)
    10:59
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS

    May 13 9:11 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 2 2
    PHILADELPHIA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - (PP) RYAN WHITNEY 1 (SIDNEY CROSBY, SERGEI GONCHAR)
    5:03
    PIT - MARIAN HOSSA 7 (SIDNEY CROSBY) 7:41
    PHI - (PP) R.J. UMBERGER 10 (VACLAV PROSPAL, DANIEL BRIERE)
    10:59
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    May 13 8:20 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 2
    PHILADELPHIA 1
    1ST PRD: PHI - (PP) R.J. UMBERGER 10 (VACLAV PROSPAL, DANIEL BRIERE)
    10:59

    Penguins 2, Flyers 1  1st - 9:01May 13 8:05 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 2
    PHILADELPHIA 0
    1ST PRD: PIT - MARIAN HOSSA 7 (SIDNEY CROSBY) 7:41

    Penguins 2, Flyers 0  1st - 12:19May 13 7:55 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 1
    PHILADELPHIA 0
    1ST PRD: PIT - (PP) RYAN WHITNEY 1 (SIDNEY CROSBY, SERGEI GONCHAR)
    5:03

    Penguins 1, Flyers 0  1st - 14:57May 13 7:53 PM
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    Penguins vs. FlyersMay 13 5:53 PM
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    Penguins vs. FlyersMay 13 8:12 AM
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    Penguins vs. FlyersMay 5 11:47 AM