*Co-editor’s note. This will be a new series of articles I will write the day after games. I will be one or several plays that had the biggest impact on the game. The title of this series is called ‘Stop It Right There’ as an ode to Gary Dornhoefer, a former TV analyst for the Flyers, who used to say this when he would breakdown specific plays during the intermissions. Each gif was created on makeagif.com.
The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night by a score of 4-3.
Vincent Lecavalier scored a clutch goal with 14 seconds remaining in the third period. While Lecavalier received most of the spotlight, Matt Read and Sean Couturier played a large role in creating the chance.
Stop it right there: Couturier sets everything up.
With less than 30 seconds left in regulation, the Flyers dumped the puck into the Buffalo zone. The puck is now up for grabs. Sean Couturier wins two key battles in just over five seconds. Couturier beats Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mike Weber to the puck and gains control of it. With a defender on his back, Couturier makes a pass off the boards to Kimmo Timonen. Also notice how Read transitions when Couturier looks to pass. He gives Couturier another option.
Stop it right there. Timonen and Lecavalier get the puck to the net.
Timonen shoots the puck, but it is blocked. The loose puck flubs its way into the vicinity of Vincent Lecavalier who fires a quick shot on Sabres goaltender Jonas Enroth. Keep your eye on Lecavalier during this gif. His head is turned toward Timonen. When the puck is fired, Lecavalier sees it and puts it on net.
Stop it right there. Couturier wins another battle, Read’s poise and Lecavalier’s shot.
Lecavalier’s shot does not find the back of the net, but Couturier goes for the loose puck to try and score on the rebound. He and Weber get tied up, and that allows Matt Read to fish out the puck from their skates. Read is a seasoned veteran in the NHL and often shows poise when the puck is on his stick*. He does this again and does not immediately shoot the puck. He spots Lecavalier at the top of the circle and sweeps a pass to him. Lecavalier one times the puck through four Sabres and puts the Flyers up 4-3.
*When a veteran and a rookie take control of the puck, there are usually two different outcomes. A veteran knows how much time he has, where a rookie, who is not used to the speed of the NHL, may give the puck up too early and force a play instead of being patient. It is not the rookie’s fault, the poise and patience usually comes over time.
Games are often decided by many little plays that turn into big plays. Lecavalier’s goal was one of those instances. Couturier won three key battles, Read stayed calm and did not rush the play and Lecavalier iced everything.