By Lewis Gould

Forget all the offseason hype that the re-acquisition of James van Riemsdyk engendered.

And you can ignore what baloney comes from the Flyers’ fog machine.

The fact is that the Orange and Black have started this season just like last season:

Mediocre at best.

The only difference is that the whole world is talking about their bizarre new mascot, Gritty!

The Flyers are 9-9-2 — winless in the last three games — and at the same point last season they were 8-8-4.

“We were in a big hole last year. We’re not in a big hole this year,” Jakub Voracek told “It could give us a little more confidence that we don’t have to chase as much as we did last year, but we have to find more consistency in our gam

“We’ve generated more in those last three games than we have in the previous five games on average,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “The opportunities are coming. We weren’t able to finish. We talked about different ways that we could do a little better, simple things, get guys to the net. Obviously, the most important thing is to finish on enough of those to put us in a good spot.”

The Flyers are on the road tonight against the Buffalo Sabres, who have won six straight games, all by one goal.

“They have a couple of new additions to their team and they’re working really well right now. It’s a dangerous group. It’s going to be tough for us,” Voracek said. “So far every game has been tough. It’s a 50/50 chance every single night. It’s been pretty even so far this year, but it’s going to start breaking down after about 45 games.

“You’re going to see a bigger picture of what’s going to happen down the road. It’s too early to judge right now.”

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