TOM SESTITO, the Flyers' Tuesday night hero who chipped in with his first NHL goals in more than two calendar years, joked in the locker room on Wednesday that he leads the league in two categories: shooting percentage and faceoff win percentage.
He's riding a perfect 100 percent in both.
But he's taken only two shots and one draw.
A few stalls away, Claude Giroux also leads the NHL in a statistical category. It just might not be the one you would come to expect: total number of faceoffs taken (242). He is 25th in faceoff win percent (55.4) among those with 50 draws taken.
Giroux won 75 percent of his faceoffs on Tuesday against Tampa Bay, and the rest of his teammates won a combined 25 percent.
For a player who had offseason surgery to repair fractures in both wrists, those are impressive numbers. He was even attacked three times with slashes on one shift by Tampa Bay's B.J. Crombeen on Jan. 27, which sparked Crombeen's fight with Zac Rinaldo on Tuesday night, and the wrists held up fine.
"Knock on wood, I've never really had a problem [since surgery]," Giroux said. "I went into the boards a couple times and rolled my wrist, but other than that, it's been fine. I wasn't sure how the process was going to go, but it went very well, and I had good doctors, so that made it a lot easier."
For Giroux, the faceoff circle is where the impressive numbers end. He's had a rough start to the season, as coach Peter Laviolette has tried numerous combinations to fill to voids left by Scott Hartnell (broken foot) and Jaromir Jagr (free agency) on the Flyers' first line.
Coming off a 93-point season, the best by a Flyer since Eric Lindros in 1998-99, Giroux has three goals and three assists in 10 games. His six points have him in a tie for 90th in the NHL. He does not hide his disappointment.
Giroux did not have a single shot on goal on Tuesday, the third time that's happened this season already. It happened only once in 87 games last season, including playoffs.
"It's been up and down," Giroux said. "Personally, I think I can play better. It's just a process right now. We're getting everyone on the same system. There's a lot of hockey left to play."
Giroux, who finished fourth in Hart Trophy voting, started the season with the third-worst odds (13-2) to win the MVP in Las Vegas. He wasn't even on the board on Wednesday, according to Bovada.lv.
He isn't the only one off to a rough start. Former MVP Henrik Sedin, of Vancouver, who had 81 points last season, and Toronto's Phil Kessel, who finished with 82, haven't scored a single goal.
When it's all said and done, though, Giroux thinks he would rather lead in only one statistical category.
"What do you think?" Giroux asked with a smile on his face. "The standings would be fun."
Wayne Simmonds returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since suffering a concussion Friday in Washington. He was wearing a yellow, non-contact jersey, but remains a possibility to return to the lineup Thursday against Florida, when the Flyers attempt to string together their first three-game winning streak of the season.
Officially, Simmonds is listed by the Flyers as "day-to-day." He said he hasn't once suffered from a headache since being targeted by an errant elbow from Capitals defenseman John Erskine.
"I think everything went well today," Simmonds said. "I feel good today, especially. I really don't know what's going to happen. We'll have to see, I honestly couldn't tell you whether I can play or not; it's for the medical staff to decide. It's obviously a touchy thing and you don't want to push it."
Simmonds has missed two straight games, his first as a Flyer, with the first concussion of his career. He would not be the only Flyer to return quickly from a concussion diagnosis; Giroux missed only four games last season with his first.
"I've taken a lot of punches, I get hit in the head a lot," Simmonds said. "But this is the first time I've officially been diagnosed with one."
Ilya Bryzgalov got the day off from practice . . . The Flyers will not hold a pregame skate Thursday . . . All three members of the Panthers' coaching staff - head coach Kevin Dineen (former captain), assistant Gord Murphy (former defenseman) and assistant Craig Ramsey (former head coach) - have ties to the Flyers . . . Florida is 2-0-1 in its last three games.