MONTREAL — The league's goalie of the moment, and maybe the player most responsible for the Flyers' unexpected run toward the Stanley Cup final, arrived in Montreal with one simple wish for his 29th birthday.
"Just some rest," Michael Leighton said Wednesday, laughing.
As busy as Leighton has been in registering consecutive shutouts by stopping all 58 Montreal shots in the first two games of the Eastern Conference final, the Canadiens are vowing to make it even tougher on him.
A day after a 3-0 loss, Canadiens coach Jacques Martin spent much of a 45-minute meeting attempting to erase 120 minutes of futility by stressing to his players the importance of getting more traffic in front of Leighton as the best-of-seven series shifts to Montreal for Game 3 tonight.
Defenseman Josh Gorges said that at this point, scoring just one goal has become the Canadiens' primary objective.
"Even if it's one of those ugly ones, off someone's behind or deflecting in off of one of their guys, we'll take it," Gorges said. "I think that would give us … a little confidence to know that (Leighton is) not invincible."
Meanwhile, Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov had knee surgery and is out for six months, the team said. Markov tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Game 1 of the semifinals against Pittsburgh.
Whatever it's called, Sharks need an edge
Also trying to figure out how to come out of a 2-0 hole are the Sharks, who lost the first two games of the West final to the Blackhawks at home.
Game 3 is Friday in Chicago.
Sharks center Scott Nichol is all for bringing the hate. "We haven't played these guys since January. We don't have that hatred for them, and we should," he said. "There really hasn't been too much cheap stuff or running into goalies or things like that. We're not going to change, but we can probably play a little meaner or nastier in between the whistles."
Coach Todd McLellan is more concerned about being more aggressive on both ends.
"We'd like to be physical, we'd like to get after their defensemen down below the goal lines and prevent them from jumping in," McLellan said. "Nastiness, I'm not sure that's going to get us what we want. Tenaciousness is probably a better word for us."
Yzerman back in GM spotlight for Lightning
Is Steve Yzerman "keen" on the Lightning's general manager job, as AOL Fanhouse reported Wednesday, or is the Red Wings vice president more inclined to stay in Detroit, as other media outlets have reported. With contradictory reports all over the place — and new owner Jeff Vinik and adviser Jac Sperling, who is heading the search, keeping a lid on the process — it's clear no one really knows.
For example, a Saturday Ottawa Sun story said Yzerman had only "mild interest" in the job and that TV analyst Pierre McGuire was the front-runner. A Sunday Toronto Star story said Yzerman had pulled out and the job is former Flames GM Doug Risebrough's to have.
Times staff writer Damian Cristodero contributed to this report.