A poor start doomed the Philadelphia Flyers last season.
They hope the addition of several key veterans will prevent that from happening again.
With at least Vincent Lecavalier and Mark Streit expected to make their respective team debuts Wednesday night, the Flyers attempt to open the 2013-14 season in strong fashion against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Flyers dropped two of three to the Maple Leafs last season, including a 4-2 home defeat Feb. 25 after winning seven of the previous eight there.
Toronto opened its season with a 4-3 win at Montreal on Tuesday. The victory included five fights with Canadiens enforcer George Parros leaving on a stretcher with a concussion after hitting his face on the ice when the Leafs' Colton Orr pulled him down.
James van Riemsdyk, who scored the league's first goal of the season, gets another shot at his former team. He had a pair of goals in three games last season against Philadelphia, where he spent his first three years.
James Reimer got his season off to a strong start by making 34 saves, but it's unlikely he'll be back in net.
Like Philadelphia, the Maple Leafs also acquired a goaltender during the off-season, trading for Jonathan Bernier from Los Angeles.
Bernier went 9-3-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average in 14 games as Jonathan Quick's backup last season.
"When I'm in there, I'm not competing against anybody on my team," Reimer said. "I'm competing against the other team, not the guys sitting beside me."
Reimer has lost three of five meetings with the Flyers behind a 3.23 GAA, while Bernier lost his only meeting 7-4 with the Kings on Dec. 30, 2010. He gave up six goals on 22 shots before being pulled midway through the second period.
Philadelphia lost six of its first eight games last season and went on to miss the playoffs for just the second time in 18 tries. The Flyers fell five points short of the pos-tseason with a 23-22-3 record.
"Every team's objective is to get off to a good start," Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette said. "We didn't get one last year.
"We were disappointed about that and it put us behind the eight-ball. We scratched and clawed all year and it didn't work out for us."
Some new faces could make a difference.
The Flyers signed Lecavalier as a free agent and acquired Streit, also a former captain, from the New York Islanders.
Lecavalier, 33, was inked to a five-year, $22.5-million US contract after spending all of his 14 NHL seasons with Tampa Bay. He had 10 goals with 22 assists in 2012-13.
The centre has 52 points in 50 career meetings with Toronto, including four goals and one assist in the past six.
Streit, 35, spent the last four seasons as the Islanders' top defenceman before moving to Philadelphia on a four-year, $21-million US deal.
The Flyers' final key offseason move was re-acquiring Ray Emery, who won 16 games for them in 2009-10.
After going 17-1-0 with a 1.94 GAA in 21 games as a backup for Stanley Cup champion Chicago, Emery is expected to split time in net with Steve Mason after Philadelphia bought out the remainder of Ilya Bryzgalov's nine-year, $51-million US contract.
Mason went 4-2-0 with a 1.90 GAA in seven games last season after being picked up in a trade from Columbus.
He doesn't see Emery as competition.
"Everybody wants to put [their] spin on it," Mason told the team's official website.
"I'm not out there to battle Ray or anything like that. I'm just trying to get better in my own individual way and, if he's out there pushing me, that's a good thing."
Despite the new additions, the Flyers will still rely heavily on captain Claude Giroux, who underwent off-season surgery on his right index finger after a golfing accident.
Giroux is trying to improve on his 48 points from last season after totalling career highs of 28 goals and 93 points in 2011-12.