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The Penguins might be the best special teams squad in the NHL, but on Saturday, the Flyers stole their crown for the day.

Saturday, 03.15.2014 / 5:10 PM ET / News
By Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter
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PHILADELPHIA – When you play the Pittsburgh Penguins, you don’t want to get into a special teams battle with them.

With the top-ranked power play and the top-ranked penalty kill in the NHL, the Penguins are trying to become just the third team in NHL history to finish the season as the best in both categories.

But, there’s something about the Flyers when they play the Penguins. Something that makes them excel in specialty teams against their bitter rival.

In the Flyers 4-0 victory over Pittsburgh Saturday, some would suggest that the bevy of injuries the Penguins are enduring - no James Neal, no Chris Kunitz, no Kris Letang, no Paul Martin – might be the reason the Penguins found themselves suddenly not looking like the best in either category against the Flyers. However, despite missing more man games due to injury this season than any other team, the Penguins have still ascended to the top of both of those rankings, so they’ve been doing it without players in their lineup all season.

Which circles back to the Flyers.

Against the Penguins top penalty kill, the Flyers had great puck possession, generated several chances and tallied

Noted for his stifling defense, Sean Couturier did it all for the FLyers Saturday, picking up two assists, including one on a shorthanded goal by Matt Read, and helping to thwart all five Penguins power plays.

the first goal of the game on a quick, one-time snapshot by Scott Hartnell.

The Penguins seemed to like to sit back in a tight box against the Flyers, and the Flyers were able to use that to their advantage. With time to move the puck along the half walls and back to the point, the Flyers give themselves several options for quality shots.

A little touch pass from Giroux to Hartnell at the top of the left circle is just one of them, and it was successful.

On the other end of the ice, the Flyers killed off all five Penguins power play chances. Granted, this is where missing the Neals and the Kunitzs and the Letangs hurt Pittsburgh, but the Flyers were very aggressive against Pittsburgh, especially with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the ice together.

The Flyers forced turnovers and rushes the other way and even potted a shorthanded goal when Sean Couturier and Matt Read worked their usual magic, frustrating teams with defense and pouncing on opportunistic chances offensively, this time, a wicked snipe by Read.

But it was an adjustment made by assistant coach Ian Laperriere that had the Flyers sniffing out the Penguins best laid power play plans.

“Lappy did some scouting video and we did the right little things,” said Couturier, who set up both of Read’s goals. “[We were] putting our sticks in the passing lanes and blocking shots. Special teams were huge; even the power play did a good job.”

The Penguins like to pass the puck on the power play – a lot. They like to create mismatches and odd-man situations in small portions of ice by moving the puck quickly.

The Flyers though, didn’t allow them to do that by challenging the puck carriers early and often.

“It’s only one game, but I think we did what we wanted to do to stop their power play,” said Giroux. “They have a lot of key players; they were missing a couple too. We were pretty happy with our penalty killing and our power play.”

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @InsideTheFlyers




1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47


C. Giroux 51 16 28 -6 44
J. Voracek 51 8 34 -1 42
W. Simmonds 51 18 16 -6 34
B. Schenn 49 14 15 -1 29
S. Gostisbehere 33 9 18 4 27
S. Couturier 40 9 15 9 24
M. Read 50 9 9 -5 18
S. Laughton 51 4 10 -6 14
M. Del Zotto 49 4 9 -9 13
M. Raffl 51 6 6 2 12
S. Mason 12 13 7 .916 2.69
M. Neuvirth 11 6 2 .933 2.14
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