Feb 042011
Flyers vs Predators

Flyers vs Predators

February 4 Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Danny Briere’s line had finished its shift, and he and wingers Scott Hartnell and Ville Leino were hopping over the boards to the bench to get their batteries recharged.

But there was a long television break, and Flyers coach Peter Laviolette saw an opportunity as the game against Nashville appeared on the verge of a defining moment.

Leino had been playing as if his skates were turbocharged, so Laviolette put him back on the ice for the next shift, this time with Claude Giroux and Jeff Carter.

Laviolette went with his instinct, and Leino rewarded him with his instincts. The right wing got the puck in the slot and stunned goalie Anders Lindback with a beautiful spin-around backhander that proved to be the winning goal in the Flyers‘ hard-earned, 3-2 win Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

“Well, I got an extra shift,” said Leino, who had two third-period goals, the first on a power play and the second with 3 minutes, 14 seconds remaining. It was the first time in his career he had two goals in a regular-season game. “The coach put me with Carter and Giroux there, and it was a pretty good choice.”

Laviolette said Leino deserved the extra playing time because of his strong play against a team that can easily frustrate opponents with its highly disciplined defensive approach.

“He was strong on his skates and strong with the puck,” Laviolette said after the Flyers won for the 11th time in their last 14 games. “He ended up catching some wind, so I put him back out there.”

Leino’s two goals gave him 13 for the season, which is fewer than many in the Flyers‘ organization figured he’d have at this point because of his solid play after general manager Paul Holmgren acquired – stole? – him from Detroit in a February trade. Leino became a key figure as the Flyers made a run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

But Leino had not been happy with his play lately. He said he’s been having a crisis of confidence.

“I feel like my self confidence hasn’t been there, and my work ethic hasn’t been as hard as I want it to be,” he said. “Hopefully, it’ll carry on now.””

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