Leighton clears waivers, returns to Flyers

Michael Leighton will have to pass through re-entry waivers after being recalled by the Flyers. (Mark J. Terrill/AP File Photo)

  Goalie Michael Leighton cleared re-entry waivers at noon on Wednesday and is back with the Flyers.

   Leighton, 29, who helped spark the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals last year, could have been claimed by another team for half his $1.6 million salary for next season.

   Leighton has spent most of the season at Adirondack after recovering from October back surgery. He was 14-12-3 with a 2.22 goals-against average and .926 save percentage this season with the Phantoms.

   “He gives us more depth…with experience,” coach Peter  Laviolette said.

     Leighton will not join the team until Thursday's practice.

  After Wednesday's practice, Laviolette said Sergei Bobrovsky would start Friday's game in Buffalo. The rookie will be the No. 1 goalie in the playoffs, and Laviolette made it a point to say that Brian Boucher will be his primary backup.

    "They've been great," Laviolette said.

    Leighton was just happy to be back in the NHL.

   "This is what I wanted," he said. "I wanted to be back here in time for the playoffs."

    Leighton had three shutouts against Montreal in last year's Eastern Conference finals, then struggled in the Stanley Cup Finals against Chicago. He was pulled in Games 1 and 5 against the Blackhawks.

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   Danny Briere returned to practice Wednesday and hopes to play Friday in Buffalo. Briere has missed the last two games with a groin injury. Blair Betts (knee) was not at practice. Defenseman Nick Boynton practiced with a yellow (no contact) jersey. Boynton has been bothered by back and shoulder issues......Center Ben Holmstrom was sent back to Adirondack.

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