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Flyers Notes: Leighton's stock on the rise

Michael Leighton's goal is to keep winning, to keep pushing the Flyers closer to their first Stanley Cup since 1975.

Michael Leighton's goal is to keep winning, to keep pushing the Flyers closer to their first Stanley Cup since 1975.

"It's a great opportunity," he said after practice in Voorhees on Monday, "and I want to take advantage of it."

Not only is he taking advantage of it, he is doing it in spectacular fashion.

On Tuesday, in the Flyers' 3-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens, Leighton became the first Flyers goalie to post consecutive playoff shutouts since Bernie Parent did it against Toronto in 1975, and he extended his scoreless streak to 165 minutes, 50 seconds - a span topped only by Brian Boucher (184:45 in 2000) in the franchise's playoff history.

The Flyers were badly outplayed in the first period, and Montreal finished with a 30-23 advantage in shots.

But Leighton was the difference.

"We didn't play our best game. We know it," said a scoring machine named Danny Briere. "Sometimes, you need your goalie to steal one for you. I felt that was the case, especially for the first 40 minutes."

In essence, the lanky, unflappable goalie is auditioning for next season because he can become an unrestricted free agent in July.

"I think," said Leighton, who has been with seven NHL teams or their affiliates since 2005, "you're always auditioning."

Barring a total collapse, it now would be surprising if the Flyers didn't sign Leighton after the season. He can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

"I'm not looking that far ahead right now," he said of his impending free agency "Obviously I want to have a good playoff here and go from there. In the summer we'll see what happens. It's been nice to travel around and play for different teams, but it would be nice to stay with one team and get my family there and get a house and have some stability."

After the Flyers claimed him off re-entry waivers from Carolina in December, Leighton went 16-5-2 with a 2.48 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. But the career journeyman suffered a high ankle sprain and was sidelined for nearly two months.

The fact he didn't play down the regular-season stretch run and wasn't expected to play in the playoffs was supposed to cripple his off-season marketability.

That was before Boucher went down with a knee injury, and the 6-foot-3, 186-pound Leighton suddenly was back at center stage.

He is 4-0, with a 0.87 goals-against average and a staggering .969 save percentage in five playoff games.

Leighton's main concern is getting the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals, but he keeps hearing questions about his future.

"I'm just trying to stay positive," said Leighton, who turned 29 on Wednesday. "I've obviously played for a lot of teams and some people look at it and say, hey, that's a good thing. Everybody wants you, so I'm happy to play for those teams, but . . . I'd like some stability. . . . I'd love to stay here."

Change of plans

Because of maintenance issues with the scoreboard, Game 3 (Thursday at 7 p.m.) and Game 4 (Saturday at 3 p.m.) from Montreal will not be shown on the Wachovia Center's huge scoreboard, as was originally announced.

The Flyers said viewing parties will be held at all of the region's P.J. Whelihan's and Chickie's & Pete's.

More than 10,000 fans watched the epic Game 7 from Boston on the Wachovia Center scoreboard.

God bless Kate

A postage stamp of Kate Smith, the Flyers' longtime good-luck charm, will be unveiled Wednesday at a statue of her likeness, which sits outside the Spectrum.

Many Flyers from the Stanley Cup championship teams and chairman Ed Snider will be at the 1 p.m. ceremony, which is open to the public. The new stamp won't be available for sale until May 27.

Death in Flyers' family

Mariette Shero, whose late husband, Fred, coached the Flyers to Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975, died Sunday. She was 86 and formerly lived in Cherry Hill before moving in with her son, Ray, outside of Pittsburgh. Ray Shero is the Penguins' general manager.

Mrs. Shero was a longtime member of the Flyers' Alumni Association.

"She was just a friendly, warm lady," said Bob Clarke, the Flyers' senior vice president. "After Freddy died, she would still come to a lot of our games and social events."


Ville Leino led the Flyers with six shots; Brian Gionta had eight for the Habs. . . . Kimmo Timonen had a game-high four blocked shots. . . . According to, there was more ticket-buying activity from Flyers fans than any of the other four teams in the conference finals. Flyers tickets are by far the highest grossing in the playoffs - and the most affordable, said. With an average ticket price of $173, Flyers tickets have outsold those of the Chicago Blackhawks (second, $280 average price), the Canadiens (third, $437), and the San Jose Sharks (fourth, $251 average price). The total number of tickets sold was not announced. . . . During this year's playoffs, Montreal is 3-3 at home, while the Flyers are 4-3 on the road.