CHICAGO - The Flyers are in rare company.

Ditto goalie Michael Leighton.

The Flyers are the second team in NHL history to reach the Stanley Cup Finals after clinching a playoff berth on the last day of the regular season.

They outlasted the New York Rangers in a shoot-out, 2-1, in their regular-season finale.

Toronto also reached the Finals after sneaking into the playoffs on the last day of 1959. The Maple Leafs lost to Montreal in the Finals that season.

As for Leighton, he is the fourth goalie in the modern era to backstop his team to the Finals in a season he began with another organization.

The others: Patrick Roy, who went from Montreal to Colorado in 1995-96; Miikka Kiprusoff (San Jose to Calgary in 2003-04); and Dwayne Roloson (Minnesota to Edmonton in 2005-06).

Elite Eight

The Flyers'

Peter Laviolette

is the eighth coach in NHL history to lead his team into the Finals after being hired during the season. Four of those coaches won Cups in those seasons: Toronto's

Dick Irvin

in 1932, Montreal's

Al MacNeil

in 1971, New Jersey's

Larry Robinson

in 2000, and Pittsburgh's

Dan Bylsma

last year.

MacNeil, by the way, won the Cup against Chicago.

Lappy's mission

Flyers winger

Ian Laperriere

is trying to end the third-longest Cup drought among active NHL players.

Including the playoffs, Laperriere has played in 1,144 games over 16 years. The only two active players who have played more games without a title: Montreal's Roman Hamrlik (1,322 games) and Minnesota's Owen Nolan (1,265).

Flyers killer

Chicago right winger

Marian Hossa

is tying to avoid becoming the first NHL player to play in three consecutive Cup Finals for three different losing teams.

Hossa, who has 33 career playoff goals in 114 games, has only scored twice in this year's playoffs, but his coach senses more might be on the way. In 16 career playoff games against the Flyers, he has 24 points, and his teams won all three series.

"He can add something to our offense," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "He's been snakebit around the net. I think, eventually, top-producing scorers have their goals come in bunches."

Hossa played for the Penguins two years ago and the Red Wings last season.

Cup champs

Four players in this year's Finals, including three from Chicago, have played on Cup champs.

The Hawks who have won Cups: John Madden (2000 and 2003 with New Jersey), Andrew Ladd (2006 with Carolina) and Tomas Kopecky (2008 with Detroit).

Chris Pronger is the only current Flyer who has won a Cup; he led Anaheim to the title in 2007.

This is the third time in the last five seasons Pronger has reached a Final in his first year with his new team. He also did it with Edmonton in 2006 and Anaheim in 2007.


Blackhawks agitator

Adam Burish,

a fourth-line right winger, said the Flyers have "a lot of guys that teeter on the edge. . . . It's two kind of cocky teams playing against each other." . . . The Flyers had the league's 18th-best record in the regular season, while Chicago had the third-best record. . . . Hawks owner

Rocky Wirtz

told the Sun-Times he was throwing all his orange ties away because it was one of the Flyers' colors. "I think we should boycott everything colored orange for the next two weeks," he said. Wirtz also owns a liquor distributorship and said, "If you want to put orange juice in vodka, try opting for a Bloody Mary instead." . . . The Flyers'

Jeff Carter

and Chicago super-pest

Dave Bolland

are both from London, Ontario. "He does get under your skin a little," said a smiling Carter, referring to Bolland's harassing style of play. . . . Chicago averaged 12,727 fans per home game in 2006-07 (29th in the league) and 21,356 per game this season (first in league). . . . The Flyers could become the first team since the 1991-92 Pittsburgh Penguins to consecutively beat three of the NHL's Original Six teams in the playoffs en route to a Stanley Cup Championship.