Philadelphia Flyers' 5 Most Influential Players so Far in 2013-2014
It was a start to forget for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Zero wins in the team's first three games. One victory and only two points through the club's first eight outings.
But things have come around in recent weeks for the Orange and Black.
The Flyers have won seven of their last 12 contests and have earned 16 of a possible 24 points in the standings during that stretch.
It's been a team effort to right the ship in the City of Brotherly Love, but a handful of players have been key contributors to the turnaround.
Here's a look at Philadelphia's five most influential players so far in the 2013-2014 season.
Even before the Flyers started winning games, Steve Mason was having a positive impact in Philadelphia.
Despite a 6-7-2 record overall, Mason is ninth among all NHL goaltenders with a .932 save percentage and 11th overall with a minuscule 2.12 goals-against average. He's surrendered two goals against or fewer in 10 of his 15 appearances this season, including each of his last five outings in goal.
The five-year veteran from Oakville, Ontario has already registered eight 30-plus save performances while posting a save percentage of better than .900 in 12 of his 15 appearances to date.
He's making the saves he's supposed to make and sprinkling in more than his fair share of sparkling denials on a nightly basis.
Through nearly a quarter of the 2013-14 campaign, Mason is Philadelphia's undisputed most valuable player.
Ray Emery hasn't exactly had the same sustained impact that Mason has but is arguably responsible for the single biggest catalyst to Philly's turn around.
In the midst of a 7-0 drubbing at home to the Washington Capitals, Emery took it upon himself to charge Washington netminder Braden Holtby, which erupted into a full-fledged line brawl and a combined 114 minutes in penalties between the Flyers and Capitals.
Emery's actions were representative of a team in desperation, and Philadelphia has since responded.
Since the embarrassment that was Philly's 7-0 shellacking at the hands of Washington, the Flyers have won five of their last eight contests and have claimed at least one point in seven of those eight outings.
Meanwhile, Emery is 2-1 in three appearances since the brawl and has surrendered just three goals against while posting a .957 save percentage during the recent run.
The Flyers go as Claude Giroux goes.
During Philadelphia's wretched start, the Flyers' captain managed zero goals and just three assists to go along with a minus-five rating, as the Orange and Black dropped seven of their first eight games.
But things have started to come around for Giroux of late. And so too for the Flyers.
The Hearst, Ontario native has recorded nine points in his last 12 games, with Philly earning victories in seven of those outings. What's more, Giroux is just minus-one during that stretch and a plus-five skater over his last five games.
A two-on-one conversion with Jake Voracek November 9th snapped a 22-game goal-scoring drought for Giroux and proved to the game-winner in a 4-2 triumph over the Edmonton Oilers. And the 25-year-old center got back on the scoresheet Tuesday with a power-play tally in Philly's 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators.
When he's on, Giroux is one of the most dangerous players in the league. The opposition will need to be on notice moving forward.
For the most part, the Flyers have struggled mightily to score goals this season.
With just 40 goals through the team's first 20 games, Philadelphia is dead last among the 30 NHL clubs in goals scored. The Flyers have registered more than three goals in a single game just four times and have been on the short end of six one-goal defeats already this year.
But one player who hasn't suffered from Philly's power outage is Vincent Lecavalier.
The Flyers' biggest free-agent acquisition last summer, Lecavalier leads all Philadelphia skaters with seven goals and is one of just three Flyers to have produced more than three conversions to this point in the season.
Through the team's first nine games, the Ile Bizard, Quebec native had managed just one tally but has come alive of late, pouring in six goals over Philly's last 11 games.
Lecavalier has produced the Flyers' only hat trick of the season, which was one of just four multigoal games generated by Philadelphia skaters this season.
The 33-year-old veteran was brought to the City of Brotherly Love to put the puck in the back of the net, and that's exactly what Lecavalier is doing.
In his third full season with the Flyers, Brayden Schenn needed a big year to validate Philadelphia moving former captain Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings to acquire the former fifth overall pick.
So far, Schenn has delivered.
Through the team's first 20 games, the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native leads all Flyers with 13 points. He's second among all Philadelphia skaters with six goals and is tied for the club lead with three power-play conversions.
What's more, Schenn is making the most of his offensive opportunities, having produced the third-best shooting percentage (15.9) among Philadelphia regulars.
He potted the Flyers' first goal of the 2013-14 season and registered both tallies in a signature 2-1 triumph over the Pittsburgh Penguins last week.