GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When all the equipment bags were finally packed and the Flyers boarded their plane for the long journey home, the chatter was light and fun.
The smiles were long, if not exhausted ones. A 4-1-0 road trip through the Western Conference will do that - particularly for one of the NHL’s worst road teams.
The list of positives is long.
> The Flyers executed their third, third period comeback of the road trip on Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena. They now have five comebacks of that sort in the last month since a four-goal outburst in Detroit on Dec. 4.
> After a 1-3-1 start, the Flyers are now one of 6 teams in the East to have a winning record (8-7-1) against the West. The Flyers swept all three Western Canadian teams (Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton) on the road for the first time since 1996 - and just the second time in franchise history.
> The Flyers have scored three or more goals in 9 out of their last 10 games. They did that once in their first 15 games of the season, when Claude Giroux still hadn’t scored a goal yet. Even though he went scoreless in back-to-back games on this trip, he still ended up with 5 points in 5 games out West. Giroux is now 20th in league scoring with 38 points and he’s on-pace for 75 points.
Giroux has 31 points in the last 27 games. In an 82-game season, that’s a 97-point pace.
By the way, the Flyers are 10-0-1 when Giroux scores at least one goal this season.
> Steve Mason has lost in regulation just once since Dec. 9 (7-1-2). He is 4th in save percentage in the NHL since April 3rd of last season.
Yet, even with all of those bright spots, perhaps one of the biggest benefits of this road trip was the re-emergence of Brayden Schenn.
After a 16-game goal-less drought, Schenn scored in three of the last four games of the trip. He had a three-point game in Calgary on New Year’s Eve.
“Getting that goal in Vancouver was big for me,” Schenn said after Saturday’s win in Phoenix. “Like any other player, I think scoring brought back the confidence in me. You always want to help the team and score - and even though I was getting chances, I just couldn’t score for a while. It’s nice to be able to contribute.”
Schenn, 22, is one point away from matching a career-high of 26 points - set last season during the lockout in 47 games. He’s only played 42 so far this season - and that accounts for the 16 game stretch where he had just 6 assists.
Schenn is playing a career-high in minutes, averaging 15:51 per game. He is teetering on a 50-point pace for the season. He is a plus player for the first time in his career.
Few players on the Flyers take more heat than Schenn, a former first round pick who spent most of first full NHL season injured (he missed 28 games).
Schenn has 40 more games to finish out his 22-year-old regular season. He already has 71 career points. When Giroux finished his 22-year-old season, he had 74 points.
The Flyers’ continued development of their young players may be the most important and brightest part of the trip.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers