Michael Leighton, Peter Laviolette, and Kevin McCarthy figure to play prominent roles tonight in a huge game seven showdown as the Flyers battle the Bruins in Boston. The winner will face the Montreal Canadiens for the Eastern Conference Championship.
Ex-Canes coach and Cup winner Laviolette was handed his walking papers in December of 2008 as the organization looked to Paul Maurice to get the team on track. The fired coach took McCarthy with him when he was hired by the Flyers earlier this season. McCarthy was serving as an assistant with the team at the time and had been in the organization for over 10 years, although his role was diminished as Tom Rowe had taken his spot behind the bench.
Michael Leighton was Cam Ward's seldom used understudy for a year and a half. When Ward had his leg slashed and the Canes needed another backup, they brought in Manny Legace, who out-played Leighton at the time. When Ward was ready to return, the Canes had to make a decision and put Leighton on waivers. The Flyers picked him up the second time around and took a chance on him for half of his salary.
The rest is history as the goalie has played the best hockey of his career while in the City of Brotherly Love. He compiled a 16-5-2 record during the regular season and is 1-0 with a .978 save percentage in two appearances so far this postseason. He has also overcome a couple of injuries along the way.
In the few chances the goalie had to shine this season in Carolina, he only managed a 1-4-0 record with a .848 save percentage.
The Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the series, but the Flyers have won three straight of their own to tie things up. This game could be one for the record books as only two teams in NHL history have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series, the last one being the New York Islanders in 1975.
You have to believe that Boston will be ready tonight, especially after losing to the Hurricanes on their home ice just a year ago today in a game seven scenario. Another ex-Cane, Mark Recchi has been a prominent player for the Bruins this postseason. Does the vet have another rabbit up his sleeve?