In case you missed it late last night, the Flyers beat the Kings, 7-4. Overall the team played very well, with only a few mental lapses, one of which resulted in a goal for the Kings (delayed penalty where the Flyers couldn't gain possession).
But the real story was the struggles of Michael Leighton. As I wrote yesterday, and most likely a dozen times in the Spring, Michael Leighton is not very good. He is slow getting across the net, has a gaping five hole, and, for some reason, cannot figure out how to hug the post. All three of those problems were present last night.
Just a few minutes into the game, LA's Ryan Smyth snuck one through Leighton's legs, from behind the net. The end result was a goal that was eerily similar to Patrick Kane's Stanley Cup Winner, but at least his was on a shot facing Leighton. Smyth actually slung the puck to the crease area from behind the goal line. It hit Leighton's left skate and went in.
And here's where Smyth released the puck from:
Granted, this was Leighton's first game since June, but he has now let up two impossible-angle goals in the span of three NHL minutes. Simply amazing.
Justin Williams netted the second goal midway through the first. Again, he was at a tough angle.
Leighton opened his legs just long enough to let this one slip through. Like a freshman at a frat party.
Lavs is horrified:
Again, it was Leighton's inability to secure the five hole and close-off the side of the net (hug the post!) that cost him. He had that puck blocked, but it slipped through.
Here's Ryan Smyth again:
Watch him play for one period. Even when the puck is buried deep in the corner, Big Bear's body is still facing almost completely forward. There is always a gap between his mid-section and the post and between his towering legs. Seen here on Smyth's first goal:
And that position ends in this, with the puck in the back of the net:
If that wasn't enough, he is almost nonchalant about going side-to-side. Take a look when a puck is reversed behind the net, you will almost find yourself screaming "get over there!" He has the lateral quickness of a bear in water. There is always a hole between his legs, and rarely does he ever recognize or recover quickly enough to close off the side of the net.
Read Stevie Why's recap, or watch these goals and the rest of the highlights. The choice, it's yours.
Broad Street Hockey has a similar take on Leighton, with the painful video of Patrick Kane slipping our wants and desires through Leighton's legs.