After a strong performance during Friday's 3-2 win in Pittsburgh, Flyers rookie Sergei "Bob" Bobrovsky was back in goal for Saturday's game against the New York Islanders at the Wells Fargo Center.
It was the seventh appearance in the first 11 games for the 22-year-old Bobrovsky, who has impressed coach Peter Laviolette and his teammates.
Defenseman Kimmo Timonen said that Bobrovsky, who was born in Novokuznetsk, Russia, has a bright future and that his progress would be accelerated by how quickly he grasps the English language.
"He's going to be a good goalie in this league for a long time and is probably the quickest goalie I have seen in my life," Timonen said before Saturday's game. "For him, the biggest thing is he has to learn the language."
Timonen, a native of Finland, said that Bobrovsky was improving and emphasized how important it is for a goalie to communicate with his teammates, especially the defensemen.
"A big part of a goalie's job is talking to us, saying you have time, you don't have time, telling us to put it [the puck] left, put it right, leave it here, play it here," Timonen said. "If he doesn't speak, it's always harder."
Flyers goalie Michael Leighton was on the ice Saturday for the first time since undergoing back surgery on Oct. 11 to repair a herniated disk.
Leighton said his back felt good while he went through a light skate at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, but . . .
"The main problem before the surgery was there was a weakness in my [left] foot, and it's something in time that will go away," he said.
Leighton said the disk in his back was pinching a nerve, which in turn caused pain and weakness in his foot. He said the foot felt much better.
"If it was 10 percent, it's 75 to 80 percent now, and that is since the surgery, so obviously the surgery was good for me, and now it's a time thing."
His goal is to return by Nov. 22, when the Flyers host Montreal, but he indicated that nothing was definite.
"The doctor said in four weeks he would clear me to really start doing everything," Leighton said. "It's been 21/2 weeks now, so I have a few more weeks until then."
Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger played his ninth consecutive game Saturday after missing the first two because of off-season knee surgery.
Pronger averaged 21 minutes, 46 seconds in his first eight games. He scored his first two goals of the season in Saturday's 6-1 win over the New York Islanders.
"Some days you feel better than others, depending upon the game and the ice conditions, the amount of time on the ice," Pronger said afterward. "There's a lot of things that kind of go into it. We're trying to manage it and hopefully get it better with each week, month."
It was Pronger's 14th career two-goal game. He has never scored a hat trick.
Laviolette said that Pronger hasn't had an easy road back.
"He came back and didn't get a whole lot of practice time and didn't get to work out in the summer the way he wanted to," the coach said before the game. "He missed training camp, and to get thrown in and ask him to play against the toughest of players and the biggest minutes, it's a big ask from us."
Islanders coach Scott Gordon said that Pronger is a difficult player to match up with.
"He's going to be the hard-nosed, squirrelly guy he always is whether he has a good or bad knee," Gordon said.
- Marc Narducci