BOSTON, May 10 - Philadelphia's backup goalie came off the bench to help the team avoid elimination for the second straight contest on Monday as the Flyers thrashed the Boston Bruins 4-0 in Game Five of their Eastern Conference semi-finals series.
Michael Leighton's playoff debut is one he will remember fondly after he was called on early in the second period when regular stopper Brian Boucher suffered a leg injury during a pileup in front of his net.
Leighton stopped all 14 shots he faced and silenced the Boston crowd as the Flyers skated to a comfortable victory that reduced the home team's lead in the series to 3-2 with Game Six in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
"Ultimately when you're thrown the lemons you've got to make lemonade," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette told reporters. "It seems like we've done it a lot of that this year."
Now, after racing out to a 3-0 series lead and looking certain to reach the Eastern Conference final for the first time in 18 years, Boston has to win on the road to avoid a nail-biting Game Seven.
One game after returning from a toe injury and notching the game-winner in overtime on Friday, a revitalized Simon Gagne netted two goals in the Philadelphia victory, with wingers Ville Leino and Scott Hartnell adding the other scores.
If the Flyers are to complete the improbable comeback in the series, they may have to do it without Boucher, who was unable to put any weight on his left leg as he left the ice.
He would undergo an MRI scan on Tuesday and probably be out of action for a couple of weeks, according to Philadelphia general manager Paul Holmgren.
Philadelphia are looking to become just the third team to win a best-of-seven series after trailing 3-0 with the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders being the only ones to have achieved the feat to date.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)