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Michael Leighton Granted Conditioning Extension





December 6, 2010





It appears that area Phantoms fans will get to see Michael Leighton in action at the Glens Falls Civic Center after all.

The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have been granted an extension by the NHL that will allow Michael Leighton to stay with the Phantoms for another week. Interim Head Coach John Paddock said that Leighton is expected to play in the Friday and Saturday games this weekend. Friday's game is at the Syracuse Crunch.

Saturday night's home game with Leighton expected to get the start is against the Portland Pirates at 7:00 p.m.

Leighton played in both games on the road this past weekend as part of his six day conditioning stint with the Phantoms. At first it appeared that would be it for his brief trip back to the AHL and Glens Falls fans would not get a chance to see him on home ice. But the Flyers have received NHL approval on their request to extend his conditioning assignment which will allow Leighton to get in some more work.

"Well, he (got) through the games on the weekend good. In my opinion he still needs more work," said Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren.

"I think Michael needs to play," Holmgren said. "Rather than sticking him in with the Flyers, it's a better option for us right now. He's a big guy and he hasn't really played a full game since September. I think, to get him a couple more games it's going to be better for him and better for us.

Leighton is recovering from back surgery this past October and is also recovering from his leg injury from late last season.

" Well (the leg) is still kind of the issue I had a little while ago," Leighton said. "It has gotten better, but it's still not to the point where I can say that it's at 100%. The back feels good. Playing back to back, that was a pretty good test for it. On the other hand, I still want to kind of make sure the foot is going to be good.."

Leighton added that he felt his week with the Phantoms was a positive experience. "I got a good four days of practice in, which I think for me, was the biggest thing just to get out and get a whole hour and a half practice and get a full net to myself. The weekend for me, it was obviously disappointing. We had two losses. But, on the other hand, it felt good to get back and play some games. I'm happy with the way things went."

Leighton made his Adirondack Phantoms debut Saturday night at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He turned away 14 of 15 shots in a strong first period and the score remained tied at 1-1 until late in the 3rd. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored two goals in the final five minutes for the 3-2 victory as Leighton made 26 saves on the night. Sunday in Atlantic City, New Jersey he made 23 saves on 27 shots in a 4-2 loss to the Albany Devils.

Leighton, 29 (5/19/81), is in his ninth NHL season, his third with the Flyers. The native of Petrolia, Ontario signed a two-year contract extension on June 30, 2010. He underwent back surgery on October 11, a partial discectomy, performed by Dr. Alex Vacarro at Methodist Hospital in Philadelphia.

In the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Leighton made his NHL postseason debut when he entered in relief of Brian Boucher in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. Boston. He helped lead the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final, recording an 8-3 mark with a 2.46 GAA and .916 save percentage in 14 games. During the Eastern Conference Final vs. Montreal, he set a Flyers franchise record by posting three shutouts in the series to help the Flyers capture their first Eastern Conference Championship since 1997.

In the 2009-10 regular season, Leighton compiled a 16-5-2 record to go along with a 2.48 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in 27 regular-season appearances, including one shutout. He was acquired by the Flyers off waivers from the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec.15, 2009 and went unbeaten in regulation in his first 10 starts (Dec. 23, 2009 through Jan. 12, 2010), posting a record of 8-0-1 with a 2.16 GAA and .928 save percentage. Leighton was named the NHL's 'Second Star' of the week ending Feb. 14 after going 4-0-0 with a 1.98 GAA and .925 save percentage. He went on to set a new career high for wins in a season (17).

In 103 NHL games with the Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators, and Carolina Hurricanes over parts of nine NHL seasons, Leighton has a career record of 34-40-10-4, a 2.94 GAA, .902 save percentage, and four shutouts.

Leighton last appeared in the AHL in 2007-08 with a stellar season for the Albany River Rats in the Carolina Hurricanes system. With the River Rats that year he went 28-25-4, 2.10, .921.

Leighton set an incredible AHL record on April 24, 2008 with 98 saves in a single game for the Albany River Rats in their historic five overtime playoff game against the Philadelphia Phantoms. He followed that up with a 40 save shutout in a 1-0 victory to keep the Rats alive in their playoff series on April 26. His last AHL game was April 29, 2008 in a 2-0 loss to the Phantoms.

He played in five games for the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2006-07 going 2-0-2, 1.56, .948. His last appearance in a Phantoms jersey had been February 3, 2007 in a shootout loss to the Norfolk Admirals.

Leighton made his pro debut in 2001 with the Norfolk Admirals. He stayed with Norfolk through 2005 while also appearing in 40 games for their parent club, the Chicago Blackhawks, in 2001-02 and 2002-03. He has also played in the AHL for Rochester in 2005-06 and Portland in 2006-07 as well as Philadelphia and Albany.

Leighton has a career AHL mark in 266 career games of 128-105-25, 2.30, .917. His NHL career stats in 103 total games are 34-40-14, 2.94, .902 which includes appearances with Chicago, Nashville, Carolina and Philadelphia.

Adirondack's next home is Saturday, December 11 against the Portland Pirates featuring the team's first annual Teddy Bear Toss. Fans get to bring their teddy bear donations for the Salvation Army to the game and throw them on the ice after the Phantoms score their first goal.

Don't be left out! Tickets for all Phantoms games are on sale now. Discount rates are available for groups of 15 or more. Save off the individual ticket price by asking the Phantoms about their great group rate packages.

The AHL is celebrating their 75th anniversary season and is the top development league for the NHL. More than 85 percent of today's NHL players are American Hockey League graduates and more than 6 million fans attend AHL games every year.

Come watch future NHL stars and up-and-coming Flyers prospects with exciting Adirondack Phantoms hockey! A variety of ticket packages for all the fast-paced action are on sale now. The Phantoms selection of discount ticket packages includes 3-packs, 6-packs, 12 and 22 Select Plans, full season plans and Flex Packs. Choose the plan that works best for you! Get your tickets at the Phantoms office inside the Glens Falls Civic Center, online at ticketmaster.com, or by calling the Phantoms at 518-480-3355.







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