Special teams give Flyers needed lift
For the Flyers, there is a magic formula to success: Win the special teams battle. Simple as that. They are 3-0 in when they have outscored opponents in special teams, including Monday's 3-2 overtime victory over Carolina. Rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere won it with a power-play goal, the first game-winning tally of his young career.
For the Flyers, there is a magic formula to success: Win the special teams battle.
Simple as that.
They are 3-0 in when they have outscored opponents in special teams, including Monday's 3-2 overtime victory over Carolina. Rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere won it with a power-play goal, the first game-winning tally of his young career.
Gostisbehere has energized the Flyers, who have points in four of the five games (2-1-2) he has played since being recalled from the Phantoms.
The special teams also provided energy Monday, accounting for all three of their goals.
The Flyers have lost six of eight (2-3-3) when the special teams play was even, and have lost seven of nine (2-5-2) when being outscored in those situations.
In Monday's win, they scored twice on the power play, once shorthanded (Claude Giroux). They were 2 for 4 on the power play and 5 for 5 killing penalties.
"We've been losing games because the killing has been letting in too many goals," said center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, whose 7-9-5 team plays its first game at the New York Islanders' new home, Barclays Center, on Wednesday night. "So it's nice we came out the right way."
Ditto the power play, which produced two goals for just the second time this season.
"I think it's been pretty good the past couple games, and in Ottawa we had a lot of chances but the pucks just weren't bouncing our way," said Brayden Schenn, who had the Flyers' first power-play goal Monday. "When it comes to our power play, we take a lot of pride in it and being good at it. Obviously we have a lot of meetings, and we try to find ways to get better."
The power play was a strength last year, finishing third in the NHL (23.4 percent). This year, it entered Tuesday ranked 23d, clicking at 15.6 percent.
The Flyers' penalty killers are 18th in the 30-team NHL (79.2 percent), but they have gone 12 for 12 in the last three games.
Breakaways. Sam Gagner, who suffered a facial injury in Monday's win, was not at Tuesday's optional practice. Because of Gagner's injury, the Flyers recalled former Islander Colin McDonald from the Phantoms. McDonald, who was injured earlier in the season, had two points in four games. They bypassed Lehigh Valley's Peter Straka, the AHL's leading scorer with 12 goals. . . . Ryan White, who skated in the optional practice, is recovering from an apparent shoulder injury and probably won't be ready until next week, at the earliest. . . . For the second straight year, the Flyers were ranked seventh in value by Forbes ($660 million, a six percent increase from last year and $155 million over the league average). The Rangers ($1.2 billion) were ranked No. 1.