Here’s some facts: two seasons ago, Michael Leighton was the Philadelphia Flyers’ goaltender in playoffs. Michael Leighton took the Flyers to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Michael Leighton is not a very good goaltender.

Actually, that’s a little too blunt – Michael Leighton is not good enough to be an NHL starter; backup is debatable. He spent this season with Adirondack of the AHL, playing 56 times and putting together a .918 save percentage.

To the point: today Ilya Bryzgalov left Flyers practice after 10 minutes, and Michael Leighton stepped back into the crease for Philly.

Bryzgalov had foot problems towards the end of the regular season, and it seems likely to me that the nagging injury isn’t doing better. (Though Jason Brough over at Pro Hockey Talk did hypothesize that maybe the Flyers just yanked him after 10 minutes of practice for giving up too many goals).

Call me crazy here, but does anyone else feel the series starting to tip the Penguins way? Obviously they’re in a bad situation and unlikely to win, but for a comeback to happen it kind of feels like the right pieces are falling in place. I don’t believe in game-to-game momentum in hockey, but I do believe teams have a collective psyche that you don’t want heading the wrong way in playoffs.

The Pens finally got over the hump with a win last night, and it wouldn’t be too hard to see the Flyers feeling a bit panicky. Well, nervous at least. Playing in front of less-than-secure goaltending can be trying.

Momentum may not be a thing, but confidence is. If the Penguins is growing and Flyers is doing the opposite, this series could have plenty of fun in store for us yet.

Comments (7)

  1. Leighton isn’t replacing Bryz. The Flyer’s always keep 3 goalies on the roster in the playoffs, so they called Leighton up from Adiorndack when their season ended late last week. He just got there today because he had to clear re-entry waivers. Their plan all along has been for Bryz to not practice much during the playoffs (making having Leighton on the ice at practice necessary). It’s a non-issue. I think you were more on track with the “wipe-it” post you made earlier. Games that turn series tend to be close games where there is one momentous event that changes things (see Flyers beating the Bruins in game 4 in 2010, 4-3 in OT, with Richards ending Kejci’s season as the turning point), not massive blowouts in penalty-filled games like last night (see Det beating SJ 7-1 in game 4 a couple years back and then losing game 5 to get eliminated). .

    • I know he’s not replacing him, but the point is it appears Bryz is hurt. He may not have been good in playoffs so far, but he has the potential (as he showed this regular season) to balance out his rough patches with amazingly hot ones. You want him around to hope for those.

  2. Now, if the Pens win game 5 (particularly in big fashion), then you could have a point on the momentum.

  3. I think Crosby’s comments about “hating everyone on that team” first showed that they got in his head and then somehow in turn put him in the heads of the Flyers players.

  4. they still got to win 3 in a row! and 1 ok game from fleury wouldn’t make me exude confidence in him.

  5. Hey the Canucks won too. Not by 7, yes, but last time I checked, its still 3-1. And the Flyers kind of own the Pens in their arena.

  6. Never rule out any kind of lunacy from Philly in the playoffs. Ed Snider himself might be in net, mad as hell and ready to go Hexy on anybody who comes within reach.

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