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Pronger: Quick start necessary in Canadiens' hostile arena

MONTREAL - Chris Pronger knows the secret to winning Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final at the Bell Centre.

MONTREAL - Chris Pronger knows the secret to winning Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final at the Bell Centre.

And it's really no secret at all.

The Flyers need a better start tonight, in a hostile environment, to keep alive the momentum of their two-game shutout streak against the Canadiens.

"It's no secret we didn't play great [Tuesday night] in the first period, and 'Leights' [Michael Leighton] came up with big stops," Pronger said. "It's very easy to kind of tell yourself that you obviously need to come in here and be even more focused and prepared than we were for the two home games. They're obviously going to be in their home building. Last line change, all the rest of that stuff.

"Their fans are going to be behind them. They've been loud and boisterous all playoffs long. We need to be cognizant of that and try to play an even sounder, tighter defensive game and get off to a better start."

Record breaker?

Michael Leighton is less than one period away from breaking the Flyers' playoff shutout-streak record, which began after Boston scored with 5:50 remaining in the first period of Game 7 Friday night.

Brian Boucher holds the record of 184 minutes, 45 seconds, set in May 2000.

Leighton, who turned 29 yesterday, enters tonight's game with a streak of 165:50.

"It's obviously an honor," Leighton said. "But a shutout to me, it means a little bit, but the win means a lot more to me. You know, we could have won, 3-1, and I would have been just as happy. We're just looking at [Game 3] now and rolling forward."

Leighton has stopped 124 of 128 shots since entering for Boucher in the middle of Game 5 of the second round. That equates to a save-percentage of .969 and a 0.87 goals-against average.

Bernie Parent is the only other Flyers goalie with two consecutive playoff shutouts - he did so against the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1975, en route to a second consecutive Stanley Cup.

Parent won the Conn Smythe Trophy that year as Stanley Cup playoffs MVP. Now, the question is, can Leighton be considered for the Conn Smythe after entering the playoffs midway through?

Slap shots

The Flyers have scored 13 unanswered goals in a row but are still five goals away from breaking the NHL modern-day record . . . The Flyers have won six straight games and are 10-4 in the playoffs overall . . . Flyers fans can no longer watch Games 3 and 4 from the Wachovia Center, due to an apparent maintenance issue with the scoreboard. There will be viewing parties at all area Chickie's & Pete's and P.J. Whelihan's locations . . . Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov had knee surgery and is done for the season. He was injured in a playoff game against Pittsburgh on April 30.

Quotable

"No, no, no. They should be buying me dinner." - Michael Leighton, on if he would be treating his teammates to dinner last night on his birthday.

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