There was under a minute left to play and the Los Angeles Kings trailed the San Jose Sharks by one goal. Familiar faces controlled pressure in the offensive zone. Dustin Brown, Marian Gaborik and Tanner Pearson controlled the boards low while Jake Muzzin and Drew Doughty quarterbacked the play from the points.
Then another familiar face was pulled from the ice for an extra attacker. Jonathan Quick skated off the ice with seconds left in the game and one of the newest Kings jumped over the boards as the extra attacker.
Once Quick was off the ice, Vincent Lecavalier jumped planted himself in front of the net where he would eventually pound home the game-tying goal with only 12.2 seconds remaining in the third period.
From the sideboards, Brown fed the front of the net where Lecavalier took two swats at the puck that eventually slid through the legs of Martin Jones.
Lecavalier game-tying goal in the final 12 seconds pic.twitter.com/5rzmOcmxuM
— Stephanie (@myregularface) January 25, 2016
The Kings went on to steal the victory and lengthen their lead in the Pacific Division to nine points over San Jose in second place.
When it came down to crunch time the usual suspects were out there, all players that have been in the trenches and scored big goals for the Kings in the past. But the one unfamiliar face, a player that has only been on a part of the Kings’ roster for nine games was on the ice in the dying moments of a heated Pacific Division matchup came through for the Kings.
“It definitely feels good, 12 seconds left,” Lecavalier said. “It’s a great play by [Brown]. We actually had eye contact when he went to the corner he saw me behind the net kind of going in front of the net. It was a perfect play. I was just there at [the] right time.”
Welcome To Los Angeles
Before being traded to Los Angeles, Lecavalier had played in only seven games this season where he grabbed one assist for the Philadelphia Flyers and hadn’t dressed for a game since Nov. 12.
Since coming to Los Angeles on Jan. 6, Lecavalier has hit the ground running and has made an immediate impact on the Kings. Lecavalier has suited up in all nine of the Kings’ games since coming to the West Coast and has recorded four goals and five points in those games.
The 35-year-old has been all over the score sheet and the lineup for the Kings in his short time in Los Angeles.
In his first game with the Kings, Lecavalier recorded an assist, he went on a three-game goal streak where he scored power-play goals against the Ottawa Senators, Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars and most recently saved the day in the Kings’ 3-2 overtime win against the Sharks.
Much like his stat sheet, Lecavalier has seen time in just about every situation on the ice. Lecavalier has seen time on the team’s power play alongside Gaborik and Jeff Carter up front, the three have been together for a three of Lecavalier’s goals with the man advantage. In Lecavalier’s time with Philly this season, he was held without any time on the power-play in five of his seven games.
While most had thought Lecavalier was acquired by the Kings in order to fill the role of a bottom six center, while adding another Stanley Cup ring and veteran leadership to the locker room he has proved to be much more in his short time in Los Angeles.
Lecavalier has seen time on the team’s second line, has been a part of both special team units, has been on the ice for big moments and has contributed in the faceoff circle.
Lecavalier’s Final Chapter
It’s a known fact that Lecavalier is going to retire at the end of this season. Lecavalier has played just under 1,200 games in the NHL and Los Angeles is his last-ditch effort to etch his name on the Stanley Cup one last time.
This is a perfect scenario for everyone involved. The Kings get a seasoned veteran who obviously has more left in the tank than he was given credit for, and Lecavalier gets to skate for a proven contender and really leave it all on the ice for one last shot at the Cup.
Much like Lecavalier’s last goal, his move to Los Angeles can be seen as the final minutes of his career looking to light the lamp one more time. So when it comes to Los Angeles, Lecavalier might be “just there at the right time” as well.
Eric received his BA in Journalism from California State University, Northridge. Eric has contributed to RinkRoyalty.com, Buffalowdown.com and California Rubber Magazine.