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Flyers Getting Special Play From Their Special Teams

Wednesday, 05.19.2010 / 11:55 AM ET / 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 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 76 21 55 7 76
C. Giroux 75 23 46 2 69
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
M. Streit 75 9 36 -10 45
B. Schenn 76 14 25 -7 39
S. Couturier 76 13 17 1 30
M. Del Zotto 58 9 20 -5 29
M. Read 74 7 22 -7 29
M. Raffl 61 20 6 7 26
V. Lecavalier 52 7 11 -10 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 15 17 11 .927 2.24
R. Emery 10 10 6 .892 3.15
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