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May 15, 2010

Michael Leighton


Q. Mike, everybody's talking about your counterpart and what a serious season he's having. Does that make it easier for you in this series that maybe people overlook you a little bit and the focus will be on him?
MICHAEL LEIGHTON: Not really, you know. Obviously, he's done a great job the first two series. You know, it's a new series. We're a new team. Like I said yesterday, we had a great first round and was good against us, and we got to him. And that was our goal right from the start.
We knew he was a good goalie and we know Halak's a good goalie. I don't think things are going to change too much. We'll drive in hard on him and try to get to him early.

Q. There is probably no such thing as a good injury. But the fact that you were off a couple of months and didn't have to play all those games, you must feel like there's maybe a little more energy? Kind of starting with fresh legs a little bit?
MICHAEL LEIGHTON: Energy, no. The first full game I played at home there, I was pretty tired after the game. I felt good after the game yesterday. And, you know, I'm sure I'm going to continue feeling better and better each game. Being off that long is just a matter of time before you feel a little more comfortable. For me, it's just the more games I play, the better I feel like I said earlier in the season.
You know, hopefully yesterday was a step in the right direction and we'll just keep going forward?

Q. Back in September you're in Carolina, did you ever think mid May you'd be the starting goalie in the Eastern Conference Finals?
MICHAEL LEIGHTON: Nope, not at all. Obviously, I was sad to leave Carolina. I had a house there, my family was there. I enjoyed my time there. Last year we had a really good run, and it was a good bunch of guys. Getting shipped out over here at first I wasn't sure what was going to happen.
But I'm happy where I am now. I'm happy with the way things went. I wouldn't change anything in my mind right now.

Q. What do you remember about your stay in Montreal?
MICHAEL LEIGHTON: It was short. Backed up two games. We won both games. I was kind of the back-upÂ’s, backupÂ’s back-up, and that's pretty much what I remember about it.
But it was fun. It's a great city to play in. Obviously the Bell Centre is a great arena to be a part of. Just being there. The last few games of the season they were battling too for a playoff spot. A couple of those games were really exciting just to be there.

Q. Do you watch other goalies during the course of the playoffs? I know it's tough for you. And if you do, are you kind of amazed with what Halak's been able to do?
MICHAEL LEIGHTON: Yeah, I try to watch highlights every day. I haven't been able to watch every game. But, you know, I know he's a great goalie. He's done well all year. He's had his ups and downs, but when he's played good, he's been solid.
So we know that coming into the series. Like I said, we just have to get to him early. Not think about him too much. Just think about our team and what we're going to do to get early goals on him and keep working on him.

Q. Is there a benefit for a goalie with Pete's style of play, his system? His go, go, go mentality?
MICHAEL LEIGHTON: For me or him?

Q. For you.
MICHAEL LEIGHTON: Well, obviously we've got a great core of defense. We're great at blocking shots. You know, our strategy is to have a good forecheck and always back-check hard. Not give them any odd-men rushes. Against this team it's going to be key. We know they have a lot of small forwards that are really quick. We know they're going to come hard at us. We've played them four times this year, and we know the way they play. So we'll just have to play well defensively, and hopefully the goals will come for us.

Q. You and Brian have been getting help on the blocked shots department. What would it mean if you had a guy like Laperriere back in the series?
MICHAEL LEIGHTON: He was one of the main reasons we won the first series. Obviously a guy jumps in front of a slap shot, blocks it with his face, you take your hat off to him any day. He's a warrior, he's a great player. Just to have him back in our lineup would be a big boost for our team?

Q. What was the trip home last night like? Was it relief, exhaustion, celebration? What was the overall feeling?
MICHAEL LEIGHTON: Well, we had our celebrations in the locker room. On the plane it was more just think about what we just did. It was kind of quiet, but you knew everybody was happy. I think everyone was just sitting back in their seat reading a book or listening to the music or looking up at the ceiling on the plane thinking what did we just do? That was amazing.

Q. Was that the only time you did that because the series starts so soon after that?
MICHAEL LEIGHTON: Pretty much. I went home last night, same thing. I laid in bed. Just like Hartnell said, I stared at the ceiling and couldn't fall asleep for an hour you are just thinking about what we did.

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