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Flyers Getting Special Play From Their Special Teams

Wednesday, 05.19.2010 / 11:55 AM / News
By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com
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Flyers Getting Special Play From Their Special Teams\r\n
Philadelphia\'s special teams are a big reason the Flyers are halfway to the Stanley Cup Final.
(Philadelphia, PA) - The Montreal Canadiens were on the receiving end of yet another special delivery by the Philadelphia Flyers.

On a night when the Flyers just didn't seem to generate much offense 5-on-5 and their best player was goalie Michael Leighton, they turned to their specialty teams to steal Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Philadelphia went 2-for-4 with the man advantage while denying all four Montreal power plays en route to a 3-0 victory at the Wachovia Center. The Flyers, who have held Montreal scoreless on eight power-play attempts in the series, now lead 2-0 as the series moves to Montreal for Game 3 Thursday night.
Montreal Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak shuts the door on Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen, right who had the puck on his stick during the second period of Game 2 of the NHL hockey Eastern Conference finals with the Montreal Canadiens, Tuesday, May 18, 2010, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

"We just want to keep it simple and we're shooting the puck a lot more," Flyers forward Claude Giroux said. "Any time you shoot the puck more, you're going to have a better chance at scoring and the puck is finding the holes right now."

The Flyers scored 2 power-play goals on six shots against the Canadiens Tuesday after getting two on nine shots en route to a 6-0 win two nights earlier.

After struggling early in the previous round against Boston, the Flyers' power play is hitting its stride.

"I felt early in our series with Boston (in the conference semifinals), we were struggling getting into the zone on the power play but we've been getting better and better," said center Danny Briere, who opened the scoring 4:16 into the game with the first power-play goal. "It's not like we were coming into an easier series, either. Montreal has had a good penalty kill all year and one of best power plays. So, after two games, to win the special-teams battle goes a long way and puts us in a good spot.

"I think even in our first game, we scored a few goals right when the penalty expired and Ville (Leino's) goal (on Tuesday) came right when their player was stepping on the ice. To win the special teams battle, especially when you're not at your best, it feels good to be up 2-0 and taking care of home ice."

The contest took on an eerily familiar look to Game 1 when the Canadiens earned an early power play, only to have it negated by a Scott Gomez penalty less than a minute later. On the ensuing advantage, the Flyers grabbed the lead on Briere's goal -- and once again, it was all goalie Michael Leighton needed.

Briere got his fourth goal in four games when he snapped a shot from the right of the slot that beat Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak over his glove into the top right corner. Simon Gagne scored on his team's second power play, swatting in a rebound at 15:49 of the second.

That goal seemed to deflate the Canadiens, who outshot the Flyers 16-6 in the opening period and had allowed just 10 shots before Gagne's goal.

The Flyers' penalty kill denied the Canadiens' power-play unit three times in the first when Leighton was the team's best penalty-killer. Leighton, who finished the game with 30 saves, stopped eight shots with his team a man short in the opening period, including six straight in a span of 1:06 after Leino went off for holding at 7:11.

The Flyers entered the contest first among the four remaining teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 22.7 percent power-play efficiency. The Flyers and the Canadiens both finished among the top three in the League on the power play during the regular season. Montreal was second at 21.8 percent, just ahead of the Flyers at 21.4 percent.

But in this series, the special-teams battle has been all Flyers.

"We've got a lot of skill (on the power play)," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "We've got two great units and we can really move the puck. But it's key for any power play to get the puck to the front, to get guys to the front, to get some rebounds and we can do a great job with that."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYI 63 41 20 2 202 174 84
3 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 61 30 22 9 161 160 69
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 62 25 27 10 139 164 60
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 60 23 30 7 137 159 53
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 62 19 45 4 64
C. Giroux 61 18 41 2 59
W. Simmonds 62 24 18 -2 42
M. Streit 62 8 32 -4 40
B. Schenn 62 12 23 -3 35
S. Couturier 62 12 14 -2 26
M. Del Zotto 50 7 17 -7 24
M. Read 62 5 18 -9 23
M. Raffl 47 13 3 4 16
V. Lecavalier 44 7 9 -9 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 11 13 7 .925 2.26
R. Emery 10 10 4 .893 3.15
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