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Special teams need to be special in playoffs

Strong power-play and penalty-killing units can take even an ordinary team a long way.

Updated: April 6, 2003, 10:43 PM ET
By EJ Hradek | ESPN The Magazine

Before the big-money Dallas Stars, there were the low-rent North Stars. And, back in 1991, that grubby group of North Stars -- that included a sophomore named Mike Modano -- took the hockey state of Minnesota on a magical spring ride through the playoffs.

Those North Stars, who finished the regular season with a dismal 27-39-14 record and qualified for the postseason because the Leafs were even more inept, came within two victories of having their names engraved on the Stanley Cup. And they ...

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