PHILADELPHIA — Michael Leighton stopped 30 shots and recorded his second straight shutout, and the Flyers beat the Canadiens 3-0 on Tuesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference final.
Danny Briere and Simon Gagne scored power-play goals, and Ville Leino also scored for the Flyers, who have scored 13 straight goals since trailing 3-0 in Game 7 against Boston in the East semifinals.
Leighton, whose season was considered over once he went down with an ankle injury in mid March, has been impeccable since taking over for injured Brian Boucher in Game 5 of the semis.
He is the first goalie to get back-to-back playoff shutouts since Detroit's Chris Osgood in Games 1 and 2 of the 2008 Stanley Cup final against Pittsburgh. He is the first Flyers goalie to record consecutive playoff shutouts since Bernie Parent in 1975. His shutout streak of 165 minutes, 50 seconds is the second-longest in team history, behind Boucher's 184:45 in 2000.
"When we needed to get the big save, 'Leights' did," Flyers captain Mike Richards said of Tuesday's game, "and when they pushed, we pushed back."
Leighton was tested from the opening faceoff as the Canadiens outplayed the Flyers for most of the first two periods. The Canadiens outshot the Flyers 16-6 in the first, and the Flyers didn't reach double digits in shots until the middle of the second. "It's obviously not the ideal game for us," Richards said. "We've got to be better in Montreal."
Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak played the entire game after getting yanked in Philadelphia's 6-0 Game 1 win.
"We're not out of this series," Montreal forward Brian Gionta said. "It's not the way we wanted to start. We got some good chances (Tuesday), which is encouraging, but at the end of the day, you need to win.
|Flyers lead series 2-0|
First Period—1, Philadelphia, Briere 9 (Giroux, Timonen), 4:16 (pp). Penalties—Krajicek, Phi (slashing), 2:02; Gomez, Mon (hooking), 2:55; Leino, Phi (holding), 7:11; Philadelphia bench, served by Asham (too many men), 15:52.
Second Period—2, Philadelphia, Gagne 6 (Leino, Richards), 15:49 (pp). Penalties—Gionta, Mon (holding), 14:32.
Third Period—3, Philadelphia, Leino 3 (Krajicek, Pronger), 10:24. Penalties—Gill, Mon (interference), 7:54; Asham, Phi (slashing), 14:21; Subban, Mon (slashing), 16:40. Shots on Goal—Montreal 16-10-4—30. Philadelphia 6-7-10—23. Power-play opportunities—Montreal 0 of 4; Philadelphia 2 of 4. Goalies—Montreal, Halak 8-7-0 (23 shots-20 saves). Philadelphia, Leighton 4-0-0 (30-30). A—19,907 (19,537).
Another name in Lightning GM pool
The longer the Lightning's search for a general manager continues, the more names are likely to be heard that may or may not be involved. One that seems to make sense is Mike Santos, the Predators' director of hockey operations. And Santos said he is interested.
"I haven't reached out to them, nor have I had anyone contact me," Santos said. "(But) if they were interested in me, I'd be thrilled. … I'd probably be a good fit because I'm an analytical-type guy. I think that's what would interest them about me is my background."
Santos was assistant GM for the Islanders, and in 2002 he was the Panthers' director of hockey operations and corporate counsel. During four seasons with the Predators, Santos, a lawyer, handled scouting, contracts, arbitration and payroll management. He also has had a home in Tampa for about 10 years.
Also, Santos interviewed last year for the Wild's GM job. Part of that process was Jac Sperling, the Wild's former alternate governor who is heading Tampa Bay's GM and CEO searches.
The GM search has had a tough go lately. Maple Leafs assistant Dave Nonis got a contract extension. Red Wings VP Steve Yzerman, whom many assumed had the job if he wanted it, seems inclined to stay in Detroit, though that has not been confirmed.
Tampa Bay also has spoken to former Flames GM Doug Risebrough, Kings assistant GM Ron Hextall and TV analyst Pierre McGuire. Speculation has Predators assistant GM Paul Fenton in the mix; he has denied contact.
Bruins: Forward Marco Sturm, who tore his right anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in the first game of the East semifinals against the Flyers, had knee surgery and is expected to be out six months.
World championship: Lightning star Steven Stamkos returned for his first game for Canada after sustaining a mild concussion May 12, and he had two shots and 19:38 of ice time in a 3-2 loss to the Czech Republic in Germany to end round-robin play. Lightning wing Steve Downie had two shots and nearly nine minutes of ice time.
In other games, Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and prospect Johan Harju had goals in Sweden's 5-0 win over Switzerland. In the relegation round, the United States finished 3-0 and earned the chance to play in next year's worlds by beating Italy 3-2 in a shootout. Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin had two shots and played 15:33.
Times staff writer Damian Cristodero contributed to this report.
FLYERS 2, CANADIENS 0
Game 1: Flyers 6, Canadiens 0
Tuesday: Flyers 3, Canadiens 0
Thursday: at Montreal, 7, Versus
Saturday: at Montreal, 3, Ch. 8
Monday: at Philadelphia, 7, Versus *
May 26: at Montreal, 7, Versus *
May 28: at Philadelphia, 7, Versus *
BLACKHAWKS 2, SHARKS 0
Game 1: 'Hawks 2, Sharks 1
Tuesday: 'Hawks 4, Sharks 2
Friday: at Chicago, 8, Versus
Sunday: at Chicago, 3, Ch. 8
May 25: at San Jose, 9, Versus *
May 27: at Chicago, 8, Versus *
May 29: at San Jose, 8, Versus *
* If necessary