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.
Just four minutes into the hockey game, it already seemed as if Ilya Bryzgalov was on his way to exacting revenge on his former team.
But there were 56 more minutes of hockey, and the Flyers didn't allow that to happen. Sparked by Wayne Simmonds' two-goal night, the Flyers came back to win in a shootout, 4-3, over Edmonton Saturday night.
Simmonds now leads the Flyers with 12 goals. Just three games ago, he had only half of that total.
(Photo: Michael Raffl scores the winning shootout goal on Ilya Bryzgalov. Photo by Marko Ditkun/NHLI via Getty Images)
Claude Giroux didn't even know how the puck went into the net.
He'll be watching replays of it for sure. Not only because it was the game-winning goal, but because it was the 100th goal he's scored in his career.
It came just under three minutes after his 99th career goal tied the game up. His two tallies earned the Flyers a 5-4 comeback win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night.
“To be honest I haven’t seen the replay or anything so I don’t know what happened," Giroux said. "I was just trying to get it on net, and it was at the end of the shift so I was a little tired, so I was just trying to get it on net.”
(Photo: Columbus' R.J. Umberger and David Savard skate away as the Flyers celebrate Claude Giroux's game-winning goal in the third period. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Behind another strong performance by Steve Mason and an offensive outburst, the Flyers were able to extend their point streak to five games and have now collected 12 of 16 possible points in their last eight games.
In fact, since the disastrous 7-0 loss at the hands of the Washington Capitals on Nov. 1, the Flyers have gone 5-1-2 and now sit just two points back from what would have them in playoff positioning.
(Photo: The Flyers celebrate Kimmo Timonen's first goal of the season, which proved to be the game-winner in the third period. Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Brayden Schenn scored twice and Ray Emery was a rock in net as the Flyers won their third straight, beating the Penguins, 2-1, Wednesday night. It's their first official winning streak of the season as they improve to 7-10-1.
Things looked shakey for the Flyers in the first period as they were out-shot 16-8. Pittsburgh came out firing in the opening minute of play and seemingly took a 1-0 lead.
A mad dash in front of Emery resulting from a defensive breakdown by Braydon Coburn resulted in a Chris Kunitz goal. The referees immediately turned to Toronto for help, which determined that Kunitz kicked the puck into the net, negating the opening tally.
(Photo: Ray Emery makes a save on Pittsburgh's Matt D'Agostini. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
The Flyers snapped their four-game losing streak, beating the Rangers, 2-1, on Thursday.
Another great effort by Steve Mason - 29 saves on 30 shots - finally earned the netminder his second win of the season. But despite his solid play in net, it was almost for naught once again.
Granted the Flyers won the third period, 1-0, they nearly coughed up the lead in the frame several times, and in fact, almost did so.
J.T. Miller's goal with over 14 minutes left in the third tied the game up, 2-2. But fortunately for the Flyers, the play was reviewed and it was determined that Miller clearly kicked the puck into the net.
(Photo: A Flyers/Rangers scrum in the second period that turned into a fight between the Rangers' Brandon Mashinter and the Flyers' Wayne Simmonds. Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Adjustments to the new system need to be made but the Flyers pulled off the win for Craig Berube in his NHL coaching debut.
The Flyers held onto a 2-1 victory over the Panthers thanks to a fantastic effort from netminder Steve Mason. Mason stopped 33 shots in the win, which was Philadelphia's first of the season.
Berube, who also made an impressive debut in his first press conference, was blunt about the impact of the win.
"It’s over, we’re worried about practice and improving," Berube said after the game. "This is just one win and there’s plenty of games left in the season and we need to focus on winning all the games we can the rest of the season."
(Photo: Steve Mason makes a save in the first period. AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
The Philadelphia Flyers will have quite the balance of experience and youth on their blue line this season.
With players ranging from 23 years-old all the way to 38, the mix of veteran prowess and future promise hopes to be the perfect combination for a turnaround season.
One of the more controversial contracts this year is that of 38-year-old Kimmo Timonen.
Timonen’s one-year, $6 million deal can easily be considered a mistake when given to someone his age, but what Timonen brings to the table every season is irreplaceable. While his game may not be the same as it was three years ago, he can still be argued as the best defenseman in Philadelphia.
(Photo: Kimmo Timonen (front) is the unquestioned leader of the unit whereas Luke Schenn (back) is the future. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
Two players have already been bought-out, a handful of prospects have been named in trade rumors, and now, Braydon Coburn could be trade bait. Reportedly, the Flyers are offering Braydon Coburn up via trade, and Edmonton and Carolina are reportedly interested.
Coburn is entering the second year of a four-year, $18 million deal.
It's to no surprise that teams would be interested in the 6'5" defenseman who logged the most ice time for the Flyers in 2013. Though the offensive production for Coburn has decreased the last few years, his defense has been his strongest asset as well as his ability to be a workhorse.