CHICAGO - Flyers goalie Michael Leighton is convinced he will rebound from the Chicago Blackhawks' shellacking in the Stanley Cup Finals opener.
His teammates say they feel the same way.
"The last time he had kind of a rougher night was in Montreal," center Danny Briere said, referring to a 5-1 loss in Game 3 of the conference finals. "And he came back with a shutout the next game."
In less than two periods during Saturday's 6-5 loss to Chicago, Leighton allowed almost as many goals (5) as he had in the entire five-game series (7) against Montreal.
"I'm just going to try not to think about what happened," Leighton said after Sunday's practice at the United Center.
Coach Peter Laviolette had considered giving Brian Boucher the start Monday but decided to go with Leighton. Boucher, who is coming off two knee injuries and still is rounding back into form, replaced Leighton late in Saturday's second period and surrendered Tomas Kopecky's game-winning goal in the third period.
Leighton and goalie coach Jeff Reese reviewed video of the Game 1 carnage on Sunday.
"He showed me some positives and negatives," Leighton said. "We went over some things and said, 'All right, we have to change this is a little bit.' "
Leighton allowed five goals on just 20 shots in Game 1.
"I didn't let any bad goals in," he said, though two of the goals could fit that description. "That's the way I look at it. I didn't make some big saves. That's pretty much what it came down to. Every good scoring chance they had, they scored. And a couple of them were good shots.
"There's one or two I was mad at myself for what I did, but that's the way it goes. That's the game of hockey."
The Flyers will be trying to earn a split in the series and notch their first Finals win since 1987.
Briere said that even though the team had numerous defensive lapses in Game 1, it still took some positives from the loss.
"Coming in, everybody was talking about how good the Blackhawks were," said Briere, the NHL's second-leading playoff scorer with 22 points. "And I haven't heard anybody giving us a chance to win the series.
"What I liked [Saturday] is we proved we belonged with them. You know, maybe not to all the hockey experts, but in our room. I think we realize we can play [with them] and we can stretch the series and definitely come back in it."
Like his teammates, Briere defended Leighton's Game 1 performance, saying the Flyers gave the Hawks too many good scoring chances.
"Not too many goalies are going to be successful when you give point-blank chances the way we did," Briere said. "We haven't done that too many times in the playoffs."
"You leave anybody alone in the slot with time, they're going to score," winger Ian Laperriere said.
The wide-open style of Game 1 worked against the Flyers.
"It's no secret. That's not our game," said Laperriere, one of the Flyers' best defensive players. "We can be stronger in the slot, and we will be."
Laperriere conceded it's "more fun to play" a free-wheeling style, "but our strong point is to be smart defensively and wait for our chances."
Another factor in the loss: Chicago won 63 percent of the face-offs.
"We weren't face-off-ready," said center Blair Betts, who is usually one of the Flyers' best face-off men but won just 3 of 13 draws (23 percent) in Game 1.
As for Leighton, Betts said, "what happened isn't a reflection on how he played. We gave them too many great scoring opportunities. Most of them came from three or four feet from outside the crease."
An interesting sidelight to Game 1 was the physical battle between 6-foot-6, 220-pound defenseman Chris Pronger and the Hawks' 6-4, 257-pound winger, Dustin Byfuglien. The two jockeyed for position all night.
Pronger finished with two assists and four hits and was plus-2, while the player they call "Big Buff" had no points and 10 hits and was minus-3.
"There was a lot of talk about him, so I guess we needed to calm that down real quick," Pronger said. "I played in the West for 14 years, [so] I played against him a lot."
Pronger said he tried to "deny him easy access to the front of the net." Previous playoff teams "allowed him just to go stand there. He's a big guy."
The lanky Pronger said he tried to make Byfuglien "exert some energy and work to get into position. That tires guys out that aren't used to it."
For the Flyers, the good news was that Byfuglien and talented line mates Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane did not score.
The bad news: Even without them, Chicago scored six goals - the most allowed by the Flyers in a playoff game since 2008.