Flyers hold special teams advantage over Ducks

Flyers hold special teams advantage over Ducks

Panaccio on the Flyers replacing Gustafsson with Meszaros

October 28, 2013, 12:15 pm
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Vinny Lecavalier snapped a 1-for-25 skid with a power-play goal Saturday. (AP)

What if you could throw away the Detroit loss and pretend the Flyers didn’t give up three power play goals to the Red Wings on seven chances?
 
Max Talbot wonders about that.
 
“We’ve played pretty solid this season on the PK,” Talbot said Saturday after the Flyers shut down the NHL’s best power play -- the Islanders, who were 0 for 3.
 
“If you take away the three goals in Detroit, our PK units have been pretty good all season.”
 
The Flyers come into this week ranked ninth in the NHL in penalty kill at 83.7 percent, having allowed seven goals in 43 short-handed situations.
 
Just for the fun of it, we took Talbot’s advice and threw away the Detroit game. The Flyers would have given up just four goals in 36 times shorthanded for an 88.8 percent rating that would have them third in the NHL.
 
Not bad.
 
On Sunday, the Islanders traded away one of their top forwards from that power-play unit, Matt Moulson, who went to Buffalo along with two draft picks for Tomas Vanek.
 
The Flyers are doing a very good job defending against the best PP units in the league right now.
 
“It’s their skill,” Talbot said. “You take (John) Tavares and Moulson and you need to know where they are all the time on the ice. And they got that (Frans) Nielsen who is really sneaky. (Andrew) MacDonald who has that quick shot on the point and (Kyle) Okposo, as well. They have a lot of weapons.”
 
Now here’s the irony. The team the Flyers are facing on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center, Anaheim, has players such as Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf on their top unit and Teemu Selanne on its second unit. And yet the Ducks are 30th -- dead last -- in power-play efficiency.
 
In fact, Anaheim -- at 8.2 percent -- is even worse than the 27th-ranked Flyers (10 percent), who snapped a 1-for-25 skid on the Island on Saturday with an early power-play goal during their 5-2 victory. The Flyers had one power-play goal that night.
 
The Ducks, incidentally, also have a poor penalty-kill unit. They're ranked 27th at 76.2 percent.
 
As good as the Ducks have been this season, third in the Western Conference, their special teams are especially bad right now. That’s something the Flyers need to take advantage of Tuesday.