Vinny Lecavalier wanted to light a fire under his own game, but he wound up sparking his team at the same time.
Lecavalier dropped the gloves early in Sunday's game in what many of his teammates pointed toward as an igniter for Tampa Bay's 5-1 victory against Philadelphia.
With the Lightning down a goal early, and the Flyers trying to spice things up, Lecavalier engaged with Philadelphia D Luke Schenn 5:09 into the game, dropping the gloves in a game for the first time since Feb. 3, 2009, when he went up against New York Islanders RW Tim Jackman.
"It usually just kind of happens, it's not a big deal," Lecavalier said. "It was just the second shift of the game, and it was actually good because I didn't like the first shift that I played so it sort of woke me up and after that it was good."
The Tampa Bay captain downplayed the moment, but his teammates didn't hesitate to share exactly what it meant.
"It set the tone, Vinny is not going to back down," C Steven Stamkos said. "He's shown those leadership qualities in the past and it definitely got the rink going, it got the guys on the bench ready and I think you just zone in after that. … It was great to see Vinny stick up for himself. We obviously don't want him to do that all the time, but when the time comes he answers the bell and our team responded."
Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher said the bench was almost too fired up after Lecavalier's fight.
"I had to calm the guys down," Boucher said. "After that you saw there was some emotion and I know the guys wanted to retaliate and show Vinny that they had his back. And I think after the emotion came down a little bit our players stayed focused the rest of the game."
Tampa Bay Lightning notes: Vinny drops gloves, sparks team
Tampa Tribune | Jan 28