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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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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 - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
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