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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 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 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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