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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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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
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10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

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2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 78 22 45 -8 67
W. Simmonds 81 32 28 -7 60
B. Schenn 80 26 33 3 59
J. Voracek 73 11 44 -5 55
S. Gostisbehere 64 17 29 8 46
S. Couturier 63 11 28 8 39
M. Raffl 82 13 18 9 31
M. Read 79 11 15 -5 26
M. Streit 62 6 17 -1 23
S. Laughton 71 7 14 -2 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 23 19 10 .918 2.51
M. Neuvirth 18 8 4 .924 2.27
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