UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The Flyers have signed goaltender Sebastien Caron from the Swiss Elite League in Europe, general manager Paul Holmgren confirmed to the Daily News last night.

Holmgren said Caron arrived in the United States on Thursday. He cleared waivers at noon on Friday and will join the team for the final five regular-season games. His contract is a pro-rated $500,000 for the remainder of this year, which would pay him about $25,906 for the last 10 days.

Since he signed after the March 3 trade deadline, he won't be eligible for the playoffs.

The Flyers are looking for a spark just to make the playoffs, especially after Brian Boucher's rough outing against the Islanders on Thursday night. It would be interesting if the Flyers were willing to test Caron tonight against Montreal in what many players call the "most important game of the year," but the Flyers are apparently sticking with Boucher. The Canadiens are tied with the Flyers in the standings with 82 points.

The Flyers look like a different, less confident team with Boucher in net - though no player could agree to that or put a finger on it when asked. They are 6-19-3 when Boucher has appeared in a game this year.

If a tandem of Boucher or Johan Backlund, who is battling a groin injury, could carry the Flyers past the first round of the playoffs, Michael Leighton could be healthy enough to pick up the reins in net. Leighton is rehabbing his high left ankle sprain and is still "a ways off" according to Holmgren.

Jeremy Duchesne, who made his first NHL appearance last night in relief of Boucher when the Flyers trailed 6-2, is expected to be sent back to the AHL Phantoms if Caron clears waivers.

Caron last played in the NHL in 2006-07, when he played one game each for Chicago and Anaheim. Before that, he spent three seasons with Pittsburgh, playing 90 games from 2002-06. Overall, in 92 NHL games, he is 25-47-12, with a 3.45 goals against.

Backlund is hoping to be ready for Sunday when Detroit visits the Wachovia Center, though he may not be needed with Caron on the roster.

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