The Hottest and Coldest Philadelphia Flyers Right Now
The 2013-14 season has been a campaign of ups and downs for the Philadelphia Flyers.
The year started with a thud with losses in the team's first three games leading to the firing of Peter Laviolette. Even after Laviolette's dismissal, the Flyers scuffled, dropping four of their first five outings under newly appointed head coach Craig Berube.
But the Orange and Black found some traction in November, claiming nine victories and 20 standings points in the season's second month.
That momentum was quickly lost with losses in four of the team's first five games in December but has been recently rediscovered as Philly has won 11 of its past 16 overall.
With a streaky team comes streaky players. Here's a look at who's hot and who's not right now for the Flyers.
Hot: Wayne Simmonds
Wayne Simmonds isn't just hot now. He's been hot for nearly two months.
After just 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in the season's first two months (26 games), the 25-year-old power forward has been a point-per-game producer ever since.
In just 23 games since December 1, Simmonds has compiled 11 goals, 13 assists and 24 points. As a result of that recent surge, the Scarborough, Ontario, native now leads all Philadelphia skaters with 16 goals and is second on the squad in total scoring with 36 points.
The 6'2", 175-pound forward recorded three straight two-goal games in late December and has carried that scoring momentum into January, where he's managed at least one point in seven of nine outings in the calendar's opening month.
Cold: Vincent Lecavalier
Vincent Lecavalier got his Flyers career off to a great start.
The 14-year veteran tallied five goals in his first eight games with his new club and produced 14 points, including seven goals, in his first 22 games this season.
But the 33-year-old forward has struggled to rediscover his scoring touch after missing nine games in early December with a lower-back injury.
In 14 games since returning to the lineup in late December, Lecavalier has managed just five points and only one goal. A lone bright spot came last week when the former Tampa Bay captain snapped a 13-game goal-less drought with the game-winner with just 14 seconds left in a 4-3 triumph over the Buffalo Sabres.
As a result of his recent struggles, Lecavalier is now seventh among all Flyers in goals and ninth on the team in total scoring.
Hot: Scott Hartnell
After struggling through an injury-riddled 32 games last season which saw him produce just eight goals and 11 points, Scott Hartnell was looking to rebound this year.
The early returns weren't encouraging.
The 31-year-old forward failed to produce even a single point in his first nine games and managed just eight points through his opening 23 contests.
But Hartnell found his groove in December and has carried that into the new year.
In 22 games since December 3, the Regina, Saskatchewan, native has recorded six goals, 14 assists and 20 points. Hartnell has produced nine points in nine January outings and has tallied at least one point in seven of nine contests in the new calendar's first month.
As a result, Hartnell is back among Philly's scoring leaders. He enters the week tied for fifth on the team with 11 goals and is fifth in total scoring with 28 points.
Cold: Sean Couturier
Sean Couturier was one of Philadelphia's hottest skaters from mid-November to early December after notching 10 points (five goals, five assists) in just nine games. What's more, one of the team's best defensive forwards, the Phoenix, Ariz., native produced a plus-10 rating during that torrid stretch.
But that prolific scoring touch and Couturier's defensive resiliency has tapered off in 21 games since.
The third-year pro has managed just eight points (three goals, five assists) since December 7.
Even more disturbing, Couturier has struggled through a minus-13 rating during that 21-game stretch and has registered just one plus game compared to 10 minus outings over the past month and a half.
Hot: Andrej Meszaros
Injuries limited Andrej Meszaros to just 11 games last season and 62 the year before. As a result, he wasn't able to duplicate the kind of offensive production that made him a standout blueliner with the Ottawa Senators early in his career.
But the 28-year-old defenseman appears healthy now and is taking advantage of it.
After just four points in the season's first three months and a healthy scratch on more than one occasion, Meszaros is a lineup lock now after producing 10 points in nine January outings. The Slovakian defenseman has three multipoint outings in the past two weeks and has points in six of nine January contests.
Of equal importance, his offensive contributions aren't coming at the expense of his defensive play. Meszaros is plus-five this month and has only one minus outing in his past 10 games.
Cold: Steve Downie
Steve Downie's return to the Flyers got off to a solid start.
Philadelphia's first-round pick in 2005, Downie amassed seven points (all assists) in his first 11 games back with the Orange and Black after coming over in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche.
But it's been a struggle for the 26-year-old forward ever since.
Downie has recorded just five points over his past 19 games and has failed to produce a single point in each of his past 11 outings.
In fact, Downie's play has been so inconsistent and at times lackadaisical that Berube made him a healthy scratch twice last week citing lapses in intensity.