Reactions to Early Performances of Philadelphia Flyers' Top Stars
It's not quite time for the Philadelphia Flyers to push the panic button, but after an 0-3 start and just three goals in as many games, that time isn't far off.
The Flyers kicked off a season of cautious optimism Wednesday with a 3-1 home loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs only to suffer back-to-back setbacks in just 24 hours to the Montreal Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes.
Philly has managed just one even-strength goal in 180 minutes while having been outscored 9-3 in the team's first three outings.
The Flyers have received lackluster performances from virtually every member of the roster en route to just the fourth 0-3 start in franchise history.
Here are initial reactions to the early performances of the club's top stars.
Claude Giroux is not only Philadelphia's top star, he's one of the NHL's brightest stars.
Yet, through the Flyers' first three games, Giroux has zero goals and has yet to record a single point. It's just the fourth time in the past three seasons and the first time since February 1 that the Hearst, Ontario native has failed to register a point in three straight contests.
Philadelphia's captain does have a team-high nine shots on goal through the first three contests but has yet to convert any of those scoring opportunities.
Giroux will see the opposition's top defense pair each and every night, but that's just something superstars have to fight through.
The Philly captain hasn't gone four straight games without a point since early December 2010. That run would come to an end this Tuesday unless Giroux finds a way onto the scoresheet against the Florida Panthers.
Vincent Lecavalier has probably been the Flyers' best forward through the team's first three games.
Philadelphia's big free-agent prize, the former Tampa Bay Lightning captain and Stanley Cup champion has a power-play goal and assist to go along with seven shots on goal through the season's first week.
He set up the team's first goal of the season with a beautiful setup from behind the goal against Toronto and then pumped in Philly's lone goal in a 4-1 setback to Montreal on Saturday. Lecavalier is using his 6'4", 208-pound frame to provide a physical presence while displaying the kind of dynamic offensive creativity that has produced 384 goals throughout his NHL career.
It's extremely early, but for now, Lecavalier appears worth every penny of the five-year, $22.5 million agreement he inked with the Flyers over the summer.
Like Giroux, Scott Hartnell has yet to register a point through Philly's first three games. But while Giroux (nine shots) has at least been creating offensive opportunities, Hartnell has managed just three shots on goal in three outings.
His below-average skating and lack of foot speed is a liability on a line with speedsters like Giroux and Jake Voracek, and at least through three games, he's not winning battles at the net front to convert second-chance opportunities.
At 6'2", 210 pounds, the Regina, Saskatchewan native needs to provide a physical presence to help clear space for the team's playmakers, but through three games, Hartnell has just three hits (one in each game).
Hartnell is in the first year of a six-year, $28.5 million extension with the Flyers, and Philadelphia will need to receive considerably more for that agreement to look like a good idea.
The Flyers don't have many bright spots through the team's first three games, but Brayden Schenn is one of them.
The 22-year-old forward is in the final year of his entry-level contract and will need a big year to secure the kind of payday befitting a former fifth overall draft pick.
It's not a very glamorous total, but Schenn is tied for the team lead with two points through the first three games. He scored the team's first goal of the season and added an assist on Lecavalier's power-play tally in Montreal.
He's been juggled through the lineup but has looked comfortable in a variety of line combinations and has created offensive opportunities regardless of position.
Finally, Schenn displayed the kind of "jam" head coach Peter Laviolette likes to see when he fought Joffrey Lupul after the Maple Leafs forward took a run at Philadelphia's captain.
Unfortunately, with both Giroux and Hartnell still looking for their first points of the season, it means that fellow linemate Voracek is still in search of his first point of the season.
Big things were expected of Voracek this year after a career-high 22 goals in just 48 games last season. But it's been a slow start for the 24-year-old winger and questions linger as to whether Voracek is truly 100 percent healthy.
He was questionable in advance of Philly's opener with a back injury but suited up anyway. Still, Voracek has yet to show the kind of explosiveness that made him a regular offensive contributor a season ago.
Voracek, Giroux and Hartnell must find a way to begin producing offense like they're all capable of doing, or it's going to be an extremely long campaign for the Orange and Black.