UNIONDALE, N.Y. - After travel problems derailed a chance for Peter Laviolette to see Brian Boucher practice yesterday morning, the coach did not want to take any risks by playing the injured goalie.
That meant third-stringer Michael Leighton started his third straight game last night vs. the New York Islanders.
"To be honest, he deserves to go back in there," Laviolette said. "He's played well. Really well."
After bad weather forced the team's flight from Raleigh, N.C., to land in Baltimore, the Flyers did not arrive at their hotel on Long Island until about 3:30 a.m. yesterday. Laviolette canceled the morning skate and decided against using Boucher, who has missed the last three games with a laceration on his finger.
"He's getting there," Laviolette said. "With the travel last night, we didn't get a chance to get him on the ice. He was sore. He took shots for the first time [Saturday], and every time the puck hit the stick, it was rattling around on him. So I think right now, it's safe just to give him another day."
Laviolette praised Leighton. In winning two straight, Leighton stopped 68 of 73 shots against Tampa Bay and Carolina. But he allowed three third-period goals to the Hurricanes before stopping both attempts in the shoot-out to win.
"He's just a big guy who gets in the way," Laviolette said. "When he's on his angles, he takes up a lot of the net."
Needing a sixth defenseman after an injury to Ryan Parent, the Flyers recalled Danny Syvret from AHL's Adirondack Phantoms. Parent suffered a lower-body injury in the pregame skate against Carolina, forcing the Flyers to dress just five defenders.
"We'll get him evaluated when we get back into town," Laviolette said.
Syvret had two assists in 13 games in an earlier stint with the Flyers this season.
Marty Biron of the Islanders started his third game of the season against his former team. . . . After ending a nine-game scoring drought, Danny Briere scored a goal for the second straight game last night.