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ISN'T THAT SPECIAL

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 / News
By Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter
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ISN\'T THAT SPECIAL
When you play the Pittsburgh Penguins, you don\u2019t want to get into a special teams battle with them.\r\nWith 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.\r\nBut, there\u2019s something about the Flyers when they play the Penguins. Something that makes them excel in specialty teams against their bitter rival.

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

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 65 41 18 6 175 146 88
2 NYI 66 42 21 3 211 185 87
3 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
4 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 66 35 21 10 194 164 80
8 BOS 63 31 22 10 168 165 72
9 FLA 65 28 23 14 159 185 70
10 PHI 65 28 25 12 173 187 68
11 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 65 19 46 6 65
C. Giroux 64 18 42 1 60
W. Simmonds 65 26 18 -1 44
M. Streit 65 9 33 -5 42
B. Schenn 65 12 23 -6 35
S. Couturier 65 13 16 4 29
M. Del Zotto 53 9 17 -3 26
M. Read 65 6 20 -7 26
M. Raffl 50 15 5 6 20
V. Lecavalier 46 7 10 -9 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 13 13 8 .926 2.24
R. Emery 10 10 4 .893 3.15
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