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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lecavalier centers on Flyers' positives

By JACK McCAFFERY @JackMcCaffery
PHILADELPHIA — Throughout his successful NHL career, Vinny Lecavalier scored almost all of his goals from a position in the center of a line.
So it would be Sunday, when he scored career goals No. 400 and 401 in the Flyers’ 4-3 shootout loss to the visiting Boston Bruins.
Though he’d had some success this season as the left wing on a line with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds, Lecavalier has spent the last two games centering Adam Hall and Zac Rinaldo. Sunday, he scored early and late, including with 24.1 seconds left in the third, forcing overtime.
"I’ve always said it," Lecavalier said. "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."
Lecavalier scored 5:25 into the game, then in the final minute. He was unable, however, to beat Tuukka Rask with his shootout opportunity, thus making his milestone a bit wobbly.
"You always want the two points," he said. "I think we played a very good game. We had a lot of shots and a lot of opportunities. Rask made some really key saves for them. I think we’re happy with that one point. We would have liked to get that second one but we’ve got some big games coming up and every point is important. So tonight that one point was important. Now we have to move on and think about our next game."
Some day — not soon, but some day — Lecavalier will look back at a career good for 401 goals … and very likely more, now that he is a centerman again.
"Yeah, it’s a great honor," he said. "But I have to move on now. It felt great. I never thought when I was 18 years old when I got in the league that I would get there. I am very proud."
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After playing deep into his fourth season as a Flyer, Andrej Meszaros was traded to the Bruins March 5 for a conditional third-round draft pick.
Upon his return to the Wells Fargo Center, it took the veteran defenseman all of 10:43 to score a goal.
"It was special because you get traded and not even a month later you’re playing your old teammates so it’s still fresh," Meszaros said. "I had fun out there. The goal is nice. But two points is way better."
Meszaros had five goals in 38 games this season for the Flyers. He has two in nine games for Boston.
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The Flyers did not beat the Bruins Sunday. That hardly makes them unique.
Boston has won 15 of its last 16, and has achieved at least a point in every one. The Bruins extended their road winning streak to nine Sunday, a franchise record.
"They’re deep," Craig Berube said. "They have four good lines. They’re obviously solid on defense. Their goaltending is very solid. And it’s just a solid all-around team. They play their system to a ‘T’, no matter what. They don’t vary from it and they’re a very competitive, heavy team."
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NOTES: Lecavalier had his second multi-goal game for the Flyers. He had a hat trick Oct. 26 on Long Island. He also took a team-high nine shots … Steve Downie missed his fourth consecutive game with an upper-body injury widely believe to be concussion related … Adam Hall was 5-for-5 on faceoffs … The Flyers will pose for their annual team photo Monday at the Wells Fargo Center and visit the St. Louis Blues Tuesday at 8.


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