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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 ET
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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Flyers Inside Out

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 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 53 16 29 -8 45
J. Voracek 53 8 35 -3 43
W. Simmonds 53 20 16 -7 36
B. Schenn 51 15 15 1 30
S. Gostisbehere 35 9 20 4 29
S. Couturier 40 9 15 9 24
M. Read 51 9 9 -5 18
M. Raffl 53 7 7 5 14
S. Laughton 52 4 10 -7 14
M. Del Zotto 51 4 9 -8 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 13 14 7 .917 2.65
M. Neuvirth 11 6 2 .933 2.14
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