Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Uh, oh: Flyers lose Leighton to high ankle sprain

Talk about a worst-case scenario. With Ray Emery out for the season, the Flyers took a risk and went with Michael Leighton as their starting goaltender. While Leighton has struggled to find his consistency, he has proven that he deserved to be given a shot to carry the Flyers into the playoffs. Sure, he wasn't going to take over many games for the Flyers but he also wasn't going to completely flop, either.

Of course, that was all barring an injury like the one he suffered on Tuesday night in Nashville. In the first period against the Predators, Leighton was ran into and had to leave the game and was replaced by Brian Boucher. Initial reports say that Leighton has suffered a high ankle sprain, something that should keep him out for a few weeks.

In Leighton's absence, Brian Boucher, who hasn't started a game since December 21st, is your Flyers goaltender. Boucher has been a pretty big disappointment in his return to the Flyers this year, posting a 4-12 record and a 2.86 goals against average. Calling on him to start 8-10 games in net could be nothing short of a disaster for a Flyers team looking to make a move up the Eastern Conference standings.

My initial guess is that Johan Backlund will be called up to be the new backup goaltender at some point, although he is currently injured. Backlund has played pretty well for Adirondack in the AHL this season but he has no NHL experience. Backlund might actually be a better goaltender than Boucher if given the chance.

This is the risk you take when you don't make a move to strengthen one of the weakest positions on your team. While there is no way you can predict injuries, it would still have been nice if GM Paul Holmgren had a better contingency plan in place than Boucher. Let's hope Leighton is a quick healer or the Flyers might find themselves facing the Penguins or Capitals in the first round of a quick playoff series.

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