David Legwand's shot from own end beats Joonas Korpisalo
Sabres veteran scores 5th goal, helps standout penalty kill
If he hadn't done so already, expect 16-year NHL veteran David Legwand to adopt the shoot-from-anywhere approach.
With just four goals in 55 games this season, the Buffalo Sabres centre probably didn't fill his thoughts with potential fancy moves for whenever his next scoring chance came along.
Legwand's first priority with the hometown Columbus Blue Jackets on the power play late in the first period on Friday night was to help his team take a 1-0 lead into the intermission.
Handling the puck deep in the Sabres' zone, the 35-year-old Legwand turned and cleared the puck through the air from the top of the faceoff circle toward Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo. The puck bounced once and hopped over his glove and into the net with 1:22 left on the clock to give Legwand his second goal in four starts and Buffalo a two-goal advantage.
From another area code.<a href="https://t.co/oot8K5ZOsc">https://t.co/oot8K5ZOsc</a>—@NHL
"It always has a chance if it's on net," Legwand told reporters after a 4-0 Sabres victory. "We've seen them go in like that all year, so why not take a chance?"
"The second goal, weird bounce but that should never go in," added Korpisalo, who was pulled in favour of Curtis McElhinney after allowing four goals on 31 shots. The 21-year-old rookie entered Friday's matchup with a 2.53 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in 19 games this season.
Legwand remains on track for the fewest goals in his career. A two-time 20-goal scorer with Nashville, he scored seven times in 44 games in the 2005-06 season with the Predators and only nine a year ago for the Ottawa Senators.
Still, the Detroit native plays an important role on a Sabres squad littered with young talent, including Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Evander Kane.
Legwand is a key member of Buffalo's penalty-kill unit that ranked 13th in the 30-team NHL through Thursday and has killed 25 of 27 penalties against them in the last eight games. Go back 17 contests and the unit has killed 50 of 54 penalties for a 92.6 per cent success rate. St. Louis leads the league at 87 per cent.
On Feb. 14, Legwand had 11 minutes 50 seconds of ice time, with 5:56 of that as a penalty killer. In 10:42 of ice time on Friday, he played 3:40 with his team penalized.
"The way he plays, the things he does on the ice, it's more his mannerisms," said Sabres defenceman Josh Gorges of Legwand. "When the games are tight, things are getting a little off-kilter with a 5-on-3, he's calm, cool and collected. He goes out there gets the job done."