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Special Teams REALLY special... Huskins starts

At the clip the Flyers special teams is going, they should be a playoff team
Sunday, 03.31.2013 / 6:07 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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Special Teams REALLY special... Huskins starts

PHILADELPHIA – If you believe that numbers never lie, then you believe that this Flyers team should make the playoffs.

Let me explain.

Currently, the Flyers power play ranks first in the NHL in power play efficiency at 24.8 percent. They also lead the NHL in power play goals with 32.

Since the era of expansion in 1967, when the Flyers came into the league, only one team who led the NHL in power play percentage failed to make the playoffs – the 2006-07 Montreal Canadiens.

But the special teams numbers go deeper than that.

The Flyers also rank sixth in the NHL in penalty killing currently, thwarting opposing power plays at a clip of 84.6 percent, a mere 0.8 out of the top five in the league.

Over the course of the same expansion-era period, there have been 73 instances of a team finishing in the top five in both special teams categories.

Of those 73 teams, 71 have made the playoffs.

And the two that didn’t were way back when the league was much smaller and fewer teams qualified for the playoffs.

Those teams were the 1971-72 Detroit Red Wings, who missed the playoffs in a 14-team league, and the 1968-69 Minnesota North Stars, who missed out in a 12-team league.

Oh, and of those 73 teams that have done it, 13 have gone on to win a Stanley Cup.

It tells you that special teams success is usually indicative of a very good team.

And yet, here are the Flyers, on the outside looking in – and on the brink of being a top five team in both categories.

“Specialty teams has been really good for us in the last… 25 games or so,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “It’s a big part of our team right now.”

And if the Flyers are going to climb these seemingly insurmountable mountain and make it into the playoffs, it’s a good bet they’ll lean heavily on the specialty teams. Otherwise, they will go into the record books in a negative way for positive statistics.

………………………………………….

Kent Huskins, whom the Flyers traded for yesterday, made his debut Sunday against Washington.

Huskins didn’t have a practice with the team, but skated briefly with scratches Tye McGinn, Harry Zolnierczyk, Kurtis Foster and backup goalie Michael Leighton at Skate Zone Sunday morning.

“I’m excited,” he said. “I get to come into a situation where I can play some games – and that’s a big thing. I’m also excited to come to a great organization and be part of it.”

Huskins hasn’t played since Feb. 24 with the Detroit Red Wings in a game against Vancouver. He has played in 11 games this season.

To contact Anthony SanFilippo email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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