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Back Together

Goalie coach Reese looking forward to being back with Leighton

Monday, 07.2.2012 / 4:41 PM ET / News
Philadelphia Flyers
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Back Together
One of the first things that Michael Leighton mentioned just after he signed on for another year with the Flyers was that he was looking forward to working with goaltending coach Jeff Reese.

Well, the feeling’s mutual.

"I'm excited to be working with him again,” said Reese. “Obviously we have a good relationship and he had some very good success a couple years ago on the run to the Final when he came over from Carolina."

A lot can happen in just two years, and according to Leighton, he has used that time to not only get his game back to where he wants it to be, but to keep making adjustments and keeping improving.

“It was obviously tough for me.  But I’m happy about coming back to the NHL,” said Leighton. “I’m excited, and for me to be a backup, I’ve done it before.  I’ve just got to work hard and show the team that I’m ready to go in if they need me.”

It’s that ‘ready if needed’ mentality that has Reese excited.

"He gives us a good, solid back up that has some very good experience in the playoffs just in case there's an injury, and not only in the playoffs, if you have an injury to your No. 1 guy, [now] we have some experience there. Leights has proven that he can play 10, 15 and 20 games and give you a chance to win every night."

Flashback to 2009-10, starting goaltender Ray Emery went down with injury, and after being claimed off waivers by the Flyers from Carolina, Leighton did just that – going unbeaten in regulation in his first 10 starts, going 8-0-1 with a 2.16 goals-against average and .928 save percentage from Dec. 23 to Jan. 12.

It wasn’t, however, that season or the playoff run that impressed Flyers management to re-sign him. It was his professionalism that sealed his return to the organization.

"As a staff, we were all impressed by his work ethic and what he accomplished down [with the Phantoms],” added Reese. “Like I said, a lot of guys would have gone down there, not work and pout, but he was a true professional and I think that's a big reason why we wanted him back."

Adirondack’s schedule saw Leighton appear in 56 of the AHL’s 76-game season, posting a 28-26-1 record with a 2.58 goals-against average and .918 save percentage and two shutouts. He earned a starting position in the AHL’s All-Star Classic and a victory in the Phantoms’ 4-3 thrilling overtime victory over the Hershey Bears in the outdoor game played at Citizens’ Bank Park on Jan. 6.

"He was watched all the time and he went down there and worked extremely hard, competed very well and had a good season. He went down there and tried to win every night, and was a leader on the hockey team and really worked on his game."

And that sounds a lot like a player you want in Orange & Black whether you’re a fan, teammate, coach or management.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 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 51 16 28 -6 44
J. Voracek 51 8 34 -1 42
W. Simmonds 51 18 16 -6 34
B. Schenn 49 14 15 -1 29
S. Gostisbehere 33 9 18 4 27
S. Couturier 40 9 15 9 24
M. Read 50 9 9 -5 18
S. Laughton 51 4 10 -6 14
M. Del Zotto 49 4 9 -9 13
M. Raffl 51 6 6 2 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 12 13 7 .916 2.69
M. Neuvirth 11 6 2 .933 2.14
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