Lecavalier's late goal lifts Flyers past Sabres

Scott Hartnell scores against Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth in the third period of the Flyers' 4-3 victory in Buffalo.
Scott Hartnell scores against Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth in the third period of the Flyers' 4-3 victory in Buffalo. (GARY WIEPERT / Associated Press)
Posted: January 16, 2014

BUFFALO - Vinny Lecavalier swatted the air triumphantly and launched a kick in jubilation.

Lecavalier ended a 13-game stretch without a goal, scoring on a one-timer from the left circle with 14.8 seconds remaining to give the Flyers a wild 4-3 win in Buffalo on Tuesday night.

"It felt good; they've been hard to come by since I came back from my injury. . . . It's a confidence-builder," said Lecavalier, whose game-winner past down-on-the-ice goalie Jhonas Enroth was set up by Matt Read.

The Flyers, who overcame another poor start, scored three goals in the final 6 minutes, 32 seconds and ended a two-game losing streak.

"It was probably not our best game, but we came back again and showed a lot of will," Lecavalier said after ending his longest streak without a goal since 1998-99, his rookie season.

It marked the seventh time the Flyers had won a game with a third-period rally since Dec. 4. Overall, they have eight wins when they have trailed in the third period - one shy of equaling the franchise record.

The Flyers got late goals from Scott Hartnell (power play) and Brayden Schenn 2 minutes, 25 seconds apart to take a 3-2 lead, only to watch Buffalo quickly tie the score at the First Niagara Center.

Tyler Ennis scored on a one-timer from the right circle, putting a shot between Steve Mason's legs with 3:13 left to knot the score. The goal came 54 seconds after Hartnell (three points) had given the Flyers the lead.

Lecavalier's goal was his first since Nov. 27 at Tampa Bay, and it helpedĀ moved the Flyers into a virtual tie for second place in the Metropolitan Division.

Matt D'Agostini got behind defenseman Mark Streit, and, while diving, redirected Steve Ott's pass past Mason, giving Buffalo a 2-1 lead with 13:33 left in regulation. Ott had leveled two Flyers earlier in the eventful shift.

Earlier, Jake Voracek's power-play goal - a one-timer from the right circle after he took a pass from Wayne Simmonds - tied the score at 1 early in the second period. It was Voracek's fourth goal in six games and 13th of the season.

Simmonds (two assists) pounced on a rebound of Hartnell's shot and fed Voracek.

"He was able to hit me backdoor," Voracek said. "I think I kind of fanned on the puck, but luckily it went in."

Read, who missed the previous six games because of a concussion, came within inches of giving the Flyers a 2-1 lead with 8:13 to play in the second period.

Enroth was out of position, and Read sent his shot toward an empty net, but former Flyer Ville Leino knocked the puck away with his stick before it crossed the goal line.

The Flyers allowed the first goal for the sixth time in the last seven games.

Cody Hodgson scored his first goal in the last 10 games to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead with 13:01 left in the first period. Center Claude Giroux was caught out of position, leaving Hodgson alone in the slot as he took a pass from Ott, who was near the side boards.

Five minutes later, Giroux nearly made amends. He fired a backhander at an empty net, but a diving Enroth swatted the puck away with his blocker.

The Flyers entered the night having lost two straight in regulation for the first time since Nov. 27.

Mason, who faced just 19 shots, was making his first start since allowing five goals and getting pulled after two periods against the Lightning on Saturday.

The Flyers had their share of defensive breakdowns Tuesday, but they were perfect (4 for 4) on the penalty kill, and they have killed 30 of the last 31 (96.8 percent) over the last nine games.


scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

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