It’s been a very long, uphill climb back to respectability for the Flyers’ special team units.

In January, when the lockout-shortened season began, the power play was as low as 27th, while the penalty kill was 29th.

This week, both hit the top 10 finally, although the PK dropped out because the Flyers didn’t play Thursday and were bypassed in the rankings.

The Flyers have allowed 15 goals against in 93 kills (82.4 percent), after hovering in the mid-60s to mid-70s through the first three weeks of the season.

That’s real progress which can be seen.

“The penalty kill was finding its way early on, but it’s been really good the last 15 games or so,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “It’s been real good. The power play, there is always nights where it doesn’t get you the goal you want, but it’s scored some big goals.”

Friday was the first very long practice the Flyers have had in quite a while. It went two sessions, lasting just a skate blade under two hours.

“Now that we are able to get some practice time, work on things and get people back, we’re able to get going in the right direction,” Laviolette said. “The penalty kill, I think it is important because there is always less to see on the penalty kill.”

Laviolette had to work four new skaters into the lineup at the start of this season and that, according to defenseman Kimmo Timonen, changed the dynamics of getting the penalty kill units in sync.

“It takes time,” Timonen said. “The PK is all about watching the tape. We had some new guys on it. It wasn’t a surprise to me that we struggled early in the season. Now, everyone knows exactly what to do. Getting to know the guys, getting the system down, everything.”