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Vinny Lecavalier’s Late Heroics Propel Philadelphia Flyers to 4-3 Win Over Buffalo Sabres

January 15th, 2014 at 12:46 PM
By Ryan Beagle

On Tuesday night, the Philadelphia Flyers visited western New York to face the cellar-dwelling Buffalo Sabres. The Flyers needed a win in a big way after dropping their last two games, giving up 10 goals in that span. Thanks to Vinny Lecavalier, who hadn't scored a goal since November, the Flyers were able to get that big win and pick up two points – and did so in dramatic fashion. With just 15 seconds left in regulation in a 3-3 game, Lecavalier lit the lamp and allowed the Flyers to earn a huge two points.

Mafue / photo on flickr

Buffalo got the scoring started in the first period, when Cody Hodgson beat Steve Mason five-hole to give the Sabres the early lead. The Sabres took the 1-0 lead into the first intermission, but were short-handed less than a minute into the period. The Flyers and Jakub Voracek in particular would seize the opportunity to tie the game up. Voracek grabbed a rebound that bounced off of Buffalo goalie Jhonas Enroth and put it right past him. The game would remain tied at one for the rest of the second period. The action really began in the third period.

It took six and a half minutes for the first of five third-period goals to be scored. On an impressive pass from forward Steve Ott as the Sabres moved into the Flyers' zone, Matt D'Agostini tipped the pass past Mason, who never had a chance on the play. With a 2-1 lead, the Sabres seemed to lay off the gas a bit, which allowed the Flyers back into the game. 

Brayden Schenn would tie the game for the Flyers on a rather strange play. As the Flyers were putting pressure on Enroth, the puck ended up taking a strange bounce off the net and end boards to Schenn, who was waiting on the right wing. Schenn pulled a quick spin move and appeared to have Enroth completely beat. Enroth would cover the empty left side of the net in time, but Schenn still found a way to slide the puck under Enroth for the goal. 

The Flyers were not done. After a goalie interference call on Sabres' center Zenon Konopka, the Flyers went to the power play, where Scott Hartnell made the Sabres pay. With pressure deep in the zone, Wayne Simmonds found Hartnell sitting right in the zone, where he blasted the puck above the left shoulder of Enroth to put the Flyers in front 3-2 with just over 4 minutes to go in the third period.

But the Sabres were also not finished. Not even a minute later, Tyler Ennis scored his tenth goal of the year, on a shot that Mason probably should have stopped. Ennis was deep in the right half of the slot and at a bad angle, but was still able to beat Mason and tie the game up at 3. The rollercoaster third period continued, but was not over.

Enter Vinny Lecavalier, whose last goal came on November 27th. Lecavalier, who missed a handful of games due to injury, was finally able to get back on the score sheet, and did so just in the nick of time for the Flyers. With just 15 seconds left, Lecavalier took advantage of a reeling Enroth, who was trying to recover from a scoring chance just seconds earlier. He took a pass from Matt Read, who had just returned from a six-game absence due to injury for Tuesday night's game, and put it past Enroth to give the Flyers the win. His goal ignited excitement in the many Flyers fans in the First Niagara Center who were treated to an incredible ending to an exciting game.

After losing two games in ugly fashion, the Flyers pounded out a hard-fought win in Buffalo. While they picked up an important two points, they struggled at times against the worst team in hockey. Particularly shaky Tuesday night was Steve Mason, who gave up a soft goal and stopped just 16 of 19 shots. The effort was good enough to give the Flyers the win, but was rather uncharacteristic of Mason's tight play for much of this season. Mason has now struggled in his past two games, although tonight's lack of Buffalo shots was due to very tight defense in front of Mason. Two of the three goals that got past Mason were pucks that he didn't have a chance on, but Tyler Ennis' game-tying third period goal was one of softest goals Mason has allowed on the season.

While Mason didn't have his best game, Vinny Lecavalier ended a long scoring drought, and Scott Hartnell had a three-point night. The defense was rather strong, only allowing 19 shots to get through to Mason, and the Flyers' offense was potent, scoring four times on 33 shots on Jhonas Enroth. The Flyers move back into third in the Metropolitan Division, and are now sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 24-19-4 record. They'll return home Thursday night to take on the struggling Nashville Predators. 


1st Period:

Buffalo – 6:59: Cody Hodgson (9), Assisted by Steve Ott (8) and Matt D'Agostini (4)

2nd Period:

Philadelphia – 1:40 – PPG: Jakub Voracek (13), Assisted by Wayne Simmonds (16) and Scott Hartnell (14)

3rd Period:

Buffalo – 6:27: Matt D'Agostini (2), Assisted by Steve Ott (9) and Cody Hodgson (13)

Philadelphia – 13:28: Brayden Schenn (12), Assisted by Scott Hartnell (15) and Andrej Meszaros (9)

Philadelphia – 15:53 – PPG: Scott Hartnell (11), Assisted by Wayne Simmonds (17) and Claude Giroux (29)

Buffalo – 16:47: Tyler Ennis (10), Assisted by Matt Moulson (14) and Christian Ehrhoff (15)

Philadelphia – 19:45: Vinny Lecavalier (10), Assisted by Matt Read (10) and Sean Couturier (13)


Tags: Brayden Schenn, Buffalo Sabres, Cody Hodgson, Hockey, Jakub Voracek, Jhonas Enroth, Matt Read, NHL, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Flyers, Scott Hartnell, Steve Mason, Vinny Lecavalier

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