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Leighton Personifies Flyers' Rally by Hanging Tough

Saturday, 05.15.2010 / 10:46 AM ET / News
By Brian Compton  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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Leighton Personifies Flyers\' Rally by Hanging Tough
(Boston, MA) - Less than 15 minutes into Game 7 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal on Friday night, one had the right to at least wonder if Michael Leighton would even start the second period.
 
Much like his teammates, the Philadelphia Flyers goaltender got off to a rocky start as three pucks got past him in the first 14:10. But Leighton -- who replaced the injured Brian Boucher in the midst of Game 5 on Monday -- settled down and stopped all 11 shots he faced over the final two periods, allowing his team to rally for a remarkable 4-3 win against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
 
After Milan Lucic scored his second goal of the night to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead at 14:10 of the opening period, Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette called his lone timeout. He used a portion of it to help put his goalie at ease.
Philadelphia Flyers goalie Michael Leighton, right, leaps into the arms of teammates Mike Richards, center, and Kimmo Timonen (44), of Finland, after defeating he Boston Bruins 4-3 in Game 7 of a second-round NHL playoff hockey series in Boston, Friday, May 14, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

"Laviolette came up to me and said, 'Just stick with it. You're fine. We're going to score some goals … just shut the door the rest of the game and we'll win this,'" Leighton said. "Sure enough, that's what happened. I felt comfortable even when we were down 3-0. I didn't feel I was playing bad."
 
James van Riemsdyk started the rally with a huge goal at 17:12 of the first before Scott Hartnell made it 3-2 just 2:49 into the second. Philadelphia held Boston to just six shots on goal in the middle 20 minutes, which certainly helped Leighton relax. Danny Briere tied the game before the end of the period on a wraparound.
 
"I think they bailed me out the whole game," Leighton said of his teammates. "Tonight was not a goaltender's game. We played good offense, they played good offense. Our defense did a great job, too. There were not many shots in the second or in the third. It was a team game."
 
Leighton faced only five shots in the third period and received some help from the goal post when Lucic was denied a hat trick about midway through. Simon Gagne then sealed the historic victory when he beat Tuukka Rask on the power play at 12:52.
 
"I don't even know who scored that goal," Leighton said. "Obviously, our power play has been pretty solid. Anytime you're on the power play that late in the game, it's big."
 
Gagne's goal wasn't just big. It was one that allowed the Flyers to become the first team in 35 years to rally to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games. It marked only the third time in NHL history that it's ever been done.
 
"It's unbelievable," Leighton said. "Who would have thought when we were down 3-0 to battle back? The odds were against us the whole time. Obviously, being down in the first period 3-0 was a big kick to the head. We stuck with it. We just did a great job.
 
"We knew we were right there and we knew we could play with them. We just took it one game at a time. We're a good team. To be able to battle back, it's a great feeling. It makes it even more special that we were down 3-0 and we battled back and won."

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
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9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 50 23 18 9 119 130 55
12 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

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2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 50 16 28 -4 44
J. Voracek 50 8 34 1 42
W. Simmonds 50 18 16 -4 34
B. Schenn 48 14 15 -1 29
S. Gostisbehere 32 9 17 4 26
S. Couturier 40 9 15 9 24
M. Read 49 9 9 -5 18
S. Laughton 50 4 10 -6 14
M. Raffl 50 6 6 2 12
M. Del Zotto 48 3 9 -9 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 12 12 7 .916 2.68
M. Neuvirth 11 6 2 .933 2.14
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