Vincent Lecavalier seemed upset when he found himself paired up with Zac Rinaldo and Adam Hall on the fourth line during Philadelphia’s Friday morning skate, but the move worked in last night’s 4-2 victory over Toronto.
Flyers coach Craig Berube was very pleased with Lecavalier’s line and the 33-year-old forward, who also shifted from the wing to center, admitted that he felt more comfortable playing up the middle.
“I have to give credit to my teammates,” Lecavalier said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We were close (to scoring) a few times.”
As a line they didn’t find the back of the net, but Lecavalier scored on a one-timer during Philadelphia’s first power play of the game:
“I didn’t even see the shot,” teammate Wayne Simmonds remarked. “Normally I have time to get to the front of the net. I wasn’t even halfway there. It was in and out before I even got there, so it was an unbelievable shot.”
Like Berube, Simmonds was impressed with how well Lecavalier responded to his assignment as the team’s fourth-line center.
It remains to be seen if Lecavalier’s strong performance will lead to the lines getting shaken up again, but either way, if Berube’s goal was to spark him, then it looks like he succeeded.
It looks like the Philadelphia Flyers will have a $22.5-million fourth-liner tonight at home versus Toronto. Vincent Lecavalier was skating between wingers Zac Rinaldo and Adam Hall this morning, two days after going minus-2 and playing just 12:44 in a 3-1 loss to the Rangers.
Tye McGinn is expected to take Lecavalier’s place playing the left side with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds.
A couple of tweets to add fuel to the fire:
Lecavalier has 15 goals and 15 assists in 59 games, his 0.51 points per game ranking him seventh on the Flyers.
While plus-minus can often be misleading as a statistic, it may be telling in the case of Lecavalier. The 33-year-old’s minus-16 is the worst on the team, and that’s while starting a high percentage of his shifts in the offensive zone.
The day after he partook in Philly’s 5-0 shellacking of Detroit, Chris Vande Velde has been placed on waivers.
The move is reportedly to clear roster space for Zac Rinaldo, set to return on Thursday in Anaheim after missing the last 10 games with a high ankle sprain.
Vande Velde, 26, signed a one-year pact with the Flyers in December and went on to appear in 17 games, registering one assist while averaging close to eight minutes a game. He was used primarily as a fourth-line, penalty-killing center, though Adam Hall’s superior faceoff ability limited some of the situations Vande Velde could be used in.
As for Rinaldo, he suffered the ankle sprain on Jan. 9, but has recovered faster than the original six-week timetable provided by Flyers GM Paul Holmgren.
The injury came at a time when the agitating forward had firmly established himself as a regular presence in the Philly lineup, as Rinaldo was one of just nine players to appear in Philly’s first 44 games of the year.
The 23-year-old led the Flyers with 101 penalty minutes and 135 hits at the time of his injury, averaging 7:30 of ice-time per-game.