Wayne Simmonds, Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek all got off to slow starts this season but are now riding some pretty impressive point streaks. (USA Today Images)
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- It took Claude Giroux 16 games this season to score his first goal. It took Jake Voracek 10 games. For Wayne Simmonds, it was eight.
But now, all three Flyers find themselves in the midst of impressive point streaks. Giroux and Voracek are even setting new career highs.
“We probably had the worst start to the season of all our careers,” Simmonds said. “So I guess you can say we’re trying to make up for lost time.”
After his third consecutive two-goal game Saturday night in Edmonton against the Oilers, Simmonds became just the third Flyer in the organization’s history to accomplish such a feat. He also brought his point streak to five games, just one game shy of the longest of his career.
With two assists against the Oilers, Voracek’s point streak reached a team-high nine games. Giroux, who also registered a pair of assists in Edmonton, saw his streak hit eight games.
“It is confidence for them,” coach Craig Berube said. “Once they start scoring, they feel good about themselves. They’re shooting a lot more pucks. Like I said before, they’re physical in the battles, winning loose puck battles and shooting the puck, getting to the net.”
It’s going a long way, he said, toward the Flyers’ season turnaround. Since their 0-3 start, the Flyers have marched on to an 18-16-4 record and climbed out of the Metropolitan Division’s basement into third place.
While it’s easy to point to the Flyers’ trio of streakers, the team’s captain doesn’t believe it’s just them behind the resurgence. Yes, Giroux, Simmonds and Voracek are finally playing up to the level that’s expected of them, but so are others who might not have their names printed on the scoresheet.
“It’s not only three guys,” Giroux said. “There’s a lot of guys hot, and that’s why we’re winning games. Everybody’s contributing. Hartsy (Scott Hartnell) is playing well for us too right now. It’s just not four or five guys, it’s the whole team being on the same page and doing their jobs.”
Doing their jobs, Giroux said, involves more than just hitting the back of the net -- though that's certainly a part of it. But it's what they're doing differently now that puts them in a position to score that's likely helping those on point streaks (and their teammates) find success.
“At the start of the year, we would get really frustrated with our play if we were down a goal or up two goals and they would score one,” Giroux said. “We’d get frustrated right away and kind of press the panic button. I think it’s more everyone’s relaxing, everybody’s doing their job.
“And I think when we follow the way we should play, that’s when we give ourselves a chance to win.”