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2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 1: Should Leighton have stayed in the game?

May 29, 2010, 11:31 PM EDT

Leighton1.jpgI can understand Peter Laviolette pulling Michael Leighton after he
allowed five goals on 20 shots. His team was playing horribly sloppy,
there was absolutely no crispness for the Flyers and the only reason the
game wasn’t a disaster was because the Chicago Blackhawks weren’t doing
much better on their end.

I understand, but I’m don’t think I
agree with it.

If the score was 5-1, and Leighton had just allowed
that fifth goal, then I would agree with it. At that point, there’s
just no other option and perhaps he should have been pulled after four
goals.

But in this game, when both teams are trading goals back
and forth and neither team proved capable of holding onto a lead, was
there really a need to pull Leighton? Did Brian Boucher coming into the
game send a message to the Flyers, did that suddenly force the team to
play better defensively? Not exactly, and now you wonder about Leighton
moving forward.

Brian Boucher made several nice saves, facing 12
total shots after taking Leighton’s play late in the second period. But
he still made a mistake, over-committing with the puck down low and
giving Tomas Kopecky the room he needed to score the game winning goal.
Would Leighton have done anything differently?

Still, I just can’t
agree with pulling Leighton in a game that truly played that close for
the entire game. There’s no guarantees that Leighton wouldn’t have
allowed 3 goals in the third period, but hey he might not have made the
mistake that Boucher did. With the game played so close, I just can’t
agree with not sticking with your goaltender during a tough game.

Now
we have the debate over whether it’s going to be Leighton or Boucher
for Game 2. Now there will be debate over whether the Flyers don’t have
as much faith in Leighton, even after playing so well against the
Canadiens.

All this being said, this game did show that the
Blackhawks will certainly provide a much tougher test that the Devils,
Bruins or Habs did. Forget about the goaltending, when that really
wasn’t the issue. Focus on the defense, which all sorts of problems with
the Hawks’ offense.

  1. Francis Baptiste - May 30, 2010 at 12:14 AM

    Leighton got chased out plain and simple. It was something I thought would happen eventually, but that early! It really surprised me. Not very good defense or goaltending from either team, but boy was it a pleasure to watch.
    http://shootshoot.net

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