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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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Flyers Inside Out
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 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
3 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 63 19 46 5 65
C. Giroux 62 18 41 2 59
W. Simmonds 63 25 18 -1 43
M. Streit 63 8 32 -4 40
B. Schenn 63 12 23 -5 35
S. Couturier 63 12 16 1 28
M. Del Zotto 51 8 17 -5 25
M. Read 63 6 18 -9 24
M. Raffl 48 14 4 6 18
V. Lecavalier 45 7 10 -8 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 12 13 7 .926 2.25
R. Emery 10 10 4 .893 3.15
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