It certainly could not have been made any tougher on Tuesday night, but the Philadelphia Flyers ended a six-game road trip with five wins, outlasting the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in an overtime victory.
Brayden Schenn sent the road warriors home happy with the game winner.
Wayne Simmonds dug a loose puck off the half boards, sending the puck to Nicklas Grossmann. The Swede fooled everyone with a fake half-slapper, sending a slap pass to a wide open Schenn who deposited the puck past a diving Martin Brodeur.
Schenn ended the night not only with a nasty gash to his midsection from Danius Zubrus' skate, but he scored two points in this game. He has scored six points in his last four games.
(Photo: Brayden Schenn checks Danius Zubrus. Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
John Russo and Jordan Kuhns made their picks for midseason report card awards. On some categories they agreed rather civilly. But on others, the disagreement couldn't have been any more clear.
That is why they had to put their differences aside and work together to bring to you some of the Flyers' studs, duds, and surprises among other things through the first 41 games of the 2013-14 season.
At 20-17-4, and second place in the Metro Division with 44 points, there were certainly a lot to choose from.
(Photo: Steve Mason has been the Flyers best player in the first half. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
For a guy who was a healthy scratch just five weeks ago, Michael Raffl has made the most of the opportunities presented to him since returning to the lineup on Nov. 27.
In fact, December may have been the best month in the 25-year-old’s professional hockey career.
During the final calendar month of 2013, Raffl notched 10 points (2 G, 8 A) in 14 games played, including his first career NHL goal against Ottawa on Dec. 9. Prior to the beginning of December, Raffl had just one point in 14 games played.
The Philadelphia Flyers couldn't have ended the 2013 portion of their season any better.
The Flyers defeated the Calgary Flames, 4-1, and head into 2014 winners of four straight and six of their last seven. At 20-16-4, they sit one point behind the Washington Capitals for second place in the Metro with both teams having played 40 games.
Ray Emery got the start for the Flyers, stopping 23 shots for the win. He didn't need to be overly impressive as the Flames didn't provide much pressure, but he came up with key saves late in the game to preserve the lead the Flyers built.
The Flyers allowed a season-high 44 shots, all while taking just 27.
With numbers like that, it's hard to fathom them being able to steal one point, let alone two. Steve Mason did just that.
Mason stopped a season-high 41 shots and the Flyers came back to force overtime before winning in a shootout, 4-3, in Vancouver. It's their fifth win in the last six games, and they now sit three points behind the Washington Capitals for second place in the Metro.
(Photo: Steve Mason makes a save on David Booth. Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Five games ago, Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds scored just five goals along with ten assists.
Not bad totals by any stretch, but not spectacular for a productive winger known for hard work, physical play, and most importantly, timely scoring.
Since going goalless for 10 straight games dating from Nov. 27 until Dec. 17, Simmonds has scored five goals and two assists, doubling his goal total, and giving a team that looked hopeless in terms of secondary scoring months ago a chance to be lethal in that department.
It was not as if "Wayne Train" wasn't capable. He scored 28 goals two seasons ago, and if a lockout-shortened 2013 season spanned 82 games, Simmonds could have replicated that goal total again, scoring 15 goals in 45 games.
(Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line; October 24, 2013)
Flyers forward Brayden Schenn will be in tonight's lineup as his team gets set to host the Blue Jackets tonight.
The news comes to a bit of a shock as just 48 hours prior, Schenn was blasted into the boards by Capitals forward Tom Wilson. Wilson got a five-minute major for charging and had a hearing at noon today. (UPDATE: There will not be any supplemental discipline for Wilson.)
Schenn said he is shocked he is able to play tonight so shortly after the dangerous hit he received on Tuesday.
(Photo: Capitals forward Tom Wilson checks Brayden Schenn into the baords in the second period of Tuesday's 5-2 win over Washington.
Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)