(Kate Frese/SB Nation)
By Matt Mastrogiovanni, Sports Talk Philly staff writer
It's no question that the top trio of Flyers forwards have been lighting it up as of late. Claude Giroux is looking like a new man after last season's woes and Sean Couturier has silenced those questioning his top-line status.
But don't overlook the last piece of the puzzle: Jake Voracek.
With no goals so far on the season, one might assume that Voracek is off to a slow start. That couldn't be further from the truth.
Through Philadelphia's first eight games, the Czech forward has put up 10 assists, tied for second on the team in total points with linemate Giroux. Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere leads the team in scoring with 11 points and is tied with Voracek with 10 assists.
Voracek's play in the early stages of the season has not warranted the goose egg in the goal column. In fact, he's been playing like man possessed at times.
The 28-year old winger has made some stellar plays which just haven't made it onto the score sheet. Need proof?
In the opening minutes of Saturday's 2-1 win over the Oilers, Voracek fed Gostisbehere with a beautiful saucer pass from the corner, thus setting up the chain of events leading to the opening goal from Giroux on the power play. If there was credit for a third assist, then Voracek would have himself 11, or maybe more, on the year so far.
Or what about this undressing of Washington rookie defenseman Madison Bowey from the home opener on Oct. 14? Wayne Simmonds got the payoff with the easy goal, but Voracek did the hard work on this one and made it look easy.
He may not have a goal yet. You could even call him "snake-bitten" to start the season in terms of scoring. But Voracek's had his chances, and he's set up plenty as well.
The most frustrating example of bad luck came from the Flyers 5-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Oct. 17. With the Florida net empty, Voracek rang a shot off the post of the empty net. Seconds later, Valtteri Filppula got credit for the empty-net goal when Florida's Nick Bjugstad won a face-off from the Flyers blue line that coasted down the ice and into his own net.
At this point, it's just a matter of time before a Voracek shot finds the twine. With linemates Giroux and Couturier at his side, along with a solid power play unit, the 6'2" winger is bound to break the goalless drought sooner than later.
And once he does, there's only more to come.