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2010 Stanley Cup finals: Flyers hold big special teams advantage so far

Jun 3, 2010, 4:10 PM EDT

Late into the 2009-10 regular season, I took a look at one of my simple stats: special teams plus/minus. At that point in the season, the Chicago Blackhawks ranked as the second best team in that area (scoring 18 more special teams goals than they allowed) while the Philadelphia Flyers took seventh place.

The Blackhawks should be pleased that they have a 2-1 series lead because their normally stout special teams is become a big “minus” so far. NHL.com points out the growing disparity between the two teams’ specialty units.

That changed Wednesday in Game 3, when the power play went 0-for-3 and the penalty killers allowed two goals on three chances during the Blackhawks’ 4-3 overtime loss at the Wachovia Center. For the series, the Blackhawks are 0-for-6 on the power play and have allowed the Flyers to score four times in 10 chances with the extra man.

To be fair, Dave Bolland did score a significant shorthanded goal in Game 1. No doubt about it, though, the Blackhawks need to get more out of their powerplay and should also do more to limit the Flyers’ success.

The really glaring thing, for me, is the lack of powerplays for Chicago. To start the series, Chicago surprisingly didn’t get a single chance on the PP. Since then they’ve only averaged a single PP opportunity per period and overall average 2 PPs per game. Sometimes powerplay success is about the quantity of the chances you receive and the rhythm you can create while on the man advantage.

After two tough games, Chicago’s two biggest offensive weapons (Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane) finally broke free and created some offense. Perhaps the Blackhawks can get over the powerplay hump in Game 4, then? Either way, the Flyers are sticking with this series by being resourceful and creating timely offense.

Sooner or later, the Blackhawks are going to need to get their special teams in order or their near-50 year wait to raise the Cup again will need to continue.

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  2. frespch - Jun 4, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    Can anyone explained the total lack of crosschecking calls warranted to Chris Pronger, I’ve counted at least 4 no calls so far.Brier hooking and not holding but taking stick why no calls.
    Chicago is going to win the Stanley cup but is the league so set on seven games that the notoriously penalized Flyers are being totally overlooked by the officiating crews

  3. LORD STANLEY - Jun 4, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    it is a shame!! here we are trying to make hockey a fan base then they do this stuff. shame on the NHL. Its not just the flyers no calls their has been some going the other way but when they show a replay and the ref.(i use that term losely) standing and looking at a flat out head shot and no call. what happened to during the season concusions being a major issue. $$$$$$$$ is what is all about.
    AGAIN I SAY SHAME ON THE NHL!!! YOU LOOK LIKE CHUMPS

  4. Flyers2010 - Jun 4, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    I wish the Chicago fans would stop complaining. Their team is up two games to one. The Flyers will win the cup and it will have nothing to do with the officiating and everything to do with the best team winning. Get it.. GREAT TEAMS have fewer penalties. I see this series ending in six games with the Flyers on top.

  5. aaarrrggghhhhh - Jun 4, 2010 at 5:52 PM

    frespch, you are kidding right? the constant complaining, you would think chicago was down 3-0. overall, it has been fairly called. couple missed here or there. the two calls against bufiglyn were automatic because the stick broke on both. i realize that alot of chicago fans are new to hockey and that up until this year, a full house in the united center was 8,000 fans, but come on and learn the game a little. good grief. if you want figure skating, go watch the ice capades.
    ps you forgot to mention that if carcillo looks at someone funny, he gets a penalty. way to overlook that one. thank you very little. your hockey IQ is underwhelming.

  6. disgrace - Jun 4, 2010 at 10:22 PM

    You watching game 4. Tell me its been fairly called, 6 powerplays for blackhawks and what 17 for flyers with guys like pronger on your team who is one of the roughest teams in the league (which is fine) but no penalties for pronger. Please, this is the worst officiated hockey series i’ve ever witnessed. The flyers may win the cup and it will have everything to do with the refs, and if you say the calls have been fair then your the one that needs to learn how hockey works and this aint it.

  7. Flyers2010 - Jun 4, 2010 at 11:53 PM

    Again…GREAT TEAMS have FEWER penalties. The hawks have been feeling the pressure so they are creating more powerplay chances for the Flyers. Time to stop blaming the officials. To say Pronger plays for the Flyers so they should have more penalties is just stupid. He is on his game and he is simply not making stupid decisions. The Flyers will win in Chicago on Sunday, not because the officials are blowing calls but because the Flyers are superior.

  8. jeremy - Jun 6, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    Horrible officiating, no question.
    The lead up playoff rounds are always the best, the Stanley cup the worst. Because the officials “let the players play” which is a retarded statement unworthy of rebuttal.
    It’s like 70s goonery again. I’ll wait till next years round 1,2,3 to pick up real action.
    Congrats to whomever wins.

  9. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2010 at 3:01 AM

    I agree there has been a huge disparity of calls in the first 5 games….game 5 was more even but I also notice the Flyers doing things in front of officials without calls. How about interference????? Compare the call made on Toews when he checked a Shark who flopped to what they allow Pronger to do to Big Buff….a huge difference..? It is bogus. If they call it even the Flyers are at a disadvantage and the league knows it.

  10. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2010 at 3:12 AM

    Of course you would say that and you are attempting to start some _ _ _ _, but anyone with any sense or good vision or has some quality level of observation can see the disparity of calls…as mentioned penalties directly in front of an official who swallows his whistle. If you are a true sports fan you would know that the officials can call it even…allow the teams to play and you should want the players to determine the outcome due to their play not because they gain an advantage from poor officiating….which has occurred in all five games a little more even in game 5 but not in the first 4. The Flyers are playing far more aggressive than most of the teams in these play offs which will cause a team to commit penalties…explain game 1 without a penalty…not accurate….they got away with a lot. Explain how Pronger does what he does without a call? Explain how a player knocks a player’s helmet off with a shot with his stick from behind in front of the official without a call? Not to mention interference calls, tripping calls not made. Sure the Blackhawks got away with some but far less than the Flyers…Oh and apparently your not a very good predictor as the Flyers best hope for a game 7 in Chicago now.

  11. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2010 at 3:16 AM

    You IQ in general is underwhelming. Carcillo’s a punk.

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