Flyers stuff Canadiens for 3-1 East lead
By JOHN WAWROW
MONTREAL — Michael Leighton doesn't have time to reflect on his latest shutout. He is focused on a much bigger objective now that the Philadelphia Flyers are one win from the Stanley Cup finals.
Much like his team, Leighton bounced back from his worst performance this postseason. He stopped all 17 shots he faced in a 3-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals yesterday.
For Leighton, the journeyman who was claimed by the Flyers on waivers in December, it was his third shutout in this series. He is 5-1 since taking over after Brian Boucher was hurt in the second round.
The Flyers, who have won seven of eight since falling behind Boston 3-0 in the previous round, lead the Canadiens 3-1 and can advance to the finals for the first time since 1997 with a win at home in Game 5 tomorrow.
"I'm not really concerned about shutouts right now, I'm concerned about winning," Leighton said. "That's not really on my mind. If we would've won 5-1, I would have been just as happy."
The smiles were back on the Flyers' faces as they rallied from a 5-1 loss in Montreal on Thursday. They delivered on a vow to channel their frustrations and disappointment into one of their most dominant defensive outings of the playoffs.
"I can tell you that we didn't play a very good game last game, and it was a kick in the teeth," coach Peter Laviolette said. "Our guys responded with a better effort."
Philadelphia grabbed the lead when Claude Giroux and Ville Leino scored on breakaway goals nine minutes apart in the second period. Giroux then sealed the win with an empty-netter late in the third period.
Now the question is whether the eighth-seeded Canadiens can engineer another comeback from a 3-1 series deficit to get to the finals for the first time since 1993.
"Confident? I mean, it's a familiar feeling for us," Canadiens' leading scorer Michael Cammalleri said. "We seem to play our best hockey in this situation. Here we go again."