Anyway Laviolette now must decide whether to go back to Boucher, who miraculously recovered from what appeared to be a playoff-ending knee injury against Boston, or take another chance with Leighton, whose rebound on the first shot of the game was so fat that it practically waddled into the slot.
"I don't think both teams were too worried about defense," said Leighton, who faced 20 shots. "They were worried about scoring goals. Of course I'm disappointed I got pulled. But every time they got a good opportunity, they were scoring goals. I've got to make a few of those saves."
No kidding. Boucher was better, stopping 12 of 13. But when he needed to make just one more save, he overplayed Hawks winger
But like everything else in a game that must have been conducted under a full moon, this goal capped off a play that perhaps should never have happened.
A CBC replay caught it. Prior to the goal, the puck actually struck the hand of Kopecky, who was perched on the bench waiting to hop on to the ice. If a puck goes out of play, which it evidently did, then the officials are obliged to whistle the play down. They missed it -- apparently so did Laviolette, who seemed befuddled by a question on the subject in the post-match press conference -- and play carried on. Chicago defensemen
Of course, a winning goal with an amazing backstory made as much sense as anything else on a night when a Philadelphia pitcher threw a perfect game and a Philadelphia hockey team played an imperfect one.
Among the curios in a game ripped from the days of hair bands and Gretzky's hands, consider:
• The Flyers, the second-most penalized team in the NHL during the regular season, did not put the Blackhawks on the power play. Philadelphia had four.
• For all the pre-series talk of sacrificing the body, there was precious little of it. The Blackhawks blocked only 11 shots -- Toews had a big one late in the third period -- and the Flyers just seven.
"I'm sure NBC is happy for the ratings with all the goals," the Flyers'
"We need to be better in front of our goaltender," said Philadelphia defenseman
Surely normalcy, if not Leighton, will return Monday when the adrenaline is tamped down and the NHL fixes the chippy ice that drew the players' attention and ire.
No, the Stanley Cup opener was just one of those things, weird and wild and occasionally wonderful. The coaches hated it, of course. This is not how they could possible have drawn it up, unless they were using a box of Crayolas.