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POST GAME THOUGHTS: BRUINS 4, FLYERS 3 (SO)

LECAVALIER MORE THAN A FOURTH LINE GUY
Sunday, 03.30.2014 / 5:05 PM ET
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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PHILADELPHIA – Vinny Lecavalier is a fourth line center in name only.

Yes, he has been moved back to the middle from the wing, and yes he is playing between Zac Rinaldo and Adam Hall, but don’t let that fool you to thinking that’s what he’s become.

Sure, putting him there seems to have lit a fire in the veteran forward. There’s no question that the last two games we’ve seen an inspired Lecavalier on the ice for the Flyers.

But, it’s not like he’s been relegated to that odd shift and nothing else.

He’s still on the power play – where he was when he scored Friday against Toronto. And he’s still bouncing up to take shift on the line with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds – as he did for much of the third period against Boston, in place of Tye McGinn.

And while he was on that line in the third period, it should be noted he was in the middle with Brayden Schenn on the wing.

And then there’s the case where Craig Berube deftly replaced his second defenseman with Lecavalier for the extra attacker during the time out, which ultimately had him in the right position to score the tying goal that secured the all-important point in the standings.

Oh, and in overtime, he was out there taking shifts with Wayne Simmonds.

All in all he had 17:02 in ice time. He led the Flyers with nine shots on goal. Oh, and his first goal of the game was the 400th of his career. Ho Hum.

All kidding aside, Lecavalier is a much better player at 5-on-5 when he plays in the middle of the ice. Two games is a small sample, but watching him play the last two games – you see why the Flyers signed him to a five-year deal.

He has jump, he has vision, he has size to control the play – and he’s got a heck of a shot from that right circle.

“It’s just more of a moving game,” Lecavalier said about being back in the middle. “Obviously I played there my whole career. It just feels more natural. With Hall and Rinaldo, I think it went really good. We had great opportunities, great o-zone time, a lot of shots, and a lot of rebounds. We play very well together; a good support game.”

Lecavalier said he spoke to Berube about going back to center previously and is happy that he’s getting that chance again.

“We talked about it when I came back from my injury,” Lecavalier said. “I’ve always said it, I’ve always played middle. Being on the wing is not natural. But wherever I’m put, I’ll do my best to try to be good at it.”

And it’s not a conundrum for Berube. He can continue to start the game with Lecavalier getting a regular shift with Rinaldo and Hall and then in the third period, replace McGinn, or whoever is in the lineup, with Vinny and move Schenn out to the wing.

With the other two lines likely set for the long run, it’s not a lot of moving parts to make it work and it keeps Lecavalier in a comfortable position while only disrupting Schenn for a handful of shifts.

“He competed hard and got to the net and shot pucks,” Berube said. “I think he ended up with nine shots on net. That’s it, he’s got to shoot and he moved his feet. I thought he was competitive and played a good game.

“I think that line for whatever reason, with Hall and Zac, they’ve got chemistry and they look good together [as a] line.”

And if the Flyers are going to make noise in the playoffs – and they reduced their magic number to 10 points (either earned by the Flyers, or lost by Washington) – Lecavalier is going to be an integral part of whatever success they might have.

“He is a key piece,” Berube said. “I never thought he wasn’t. We need everybody, everybody is key. You’ve got to have everybody going.”

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @InsideTheFlyers

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
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