Briere, Flyers Punch Through In Overtime

7 Jan

WELLS FARGO CENTER — Danny Briere can do it all — apparently with or without his gloves. His hat trick and fight was “inspiring” to Peter Laviolette and everything to the Flyers. He scored each of the Flyers’ goals in a 3-2 overtime thriller against the Ottawa Senators and he also won a fight against Kyle Turris.

The Flyers won in dominating fashion over the Senators in October, but since then the Sens have greatly improved. Having won seven of their last 10 games coming in, the Senators were a big test for Briere and the Flyers.

After fighting off some initial pressure from Ottawa, Briere struck first. Jakub Voracek found him on the left wing midway through the first period. Briere took a weak shot that Craig Anderson saved easily, but the rebound came right back to Briere who put it home for his 11th goal of the season.

Ottawa tried to get the Flyers engaged in a physical game, but the Flyers remained on track and applied pressure. Anderson got a lot of help from his goalposts in the first two periods. James van Riemsdyk, Wayne Simmonds, Voracek then Sean Couturier all hit the post before the second period was done.

Then the Senators got back in the game. With Braydon Coburn in the box for holding and Matt Carle in the box for tripping, Ottawa struck seven seconds into the 5-on-3 power play on a Milan Michalek goal.

The teams went to the locker room tied at one after two periods and the Senators knocking on the door. Tempers started flaring. Briere hooked Kyle Turris in the groin and Turris decked him in the back of the head. Both went to the penalty box and wanted more. They agreed to drop the gloves, only the third of Briere’s career.

“I thought that was a cheap shot on his part,” said Briere. “He kind of came down with a crosscheck to the head when I was in a vulnerable position on the ice. I scraped my face onto the ice, so there was a lot of frustration.”

Briere got the better of Turris, at least his teammates thought so. After the five-minute major had expired, the Flyers were all banging their sticks along the boards as their newfound enforcer approached the bench.

“I’ll give it to him any day,” said Braydon Coburn.

After the fight, however, Bobby Butler scored to put Ottawa up a goal. Three minutes later, Briere came back with his second goal on the power play when Turris found himself in the box again.

“I was fortunate on that one,” said Briere. “Kimmo [Timonen] made a great heads-up play and I was able to tip it, but I got lots of help from their defenseman putting it in for me.”

The Flyers applied pressure late, but couldn’t solve Anderson in regulation. They tired out the Senators, who appeared to be playing for overtime, tying the puck up instead of applying pressure of their own.

In overtime, The Flyers were relentless with their pressure and Bryzgalov came up huge with two very important saves of his 35 on the day. With 5.3 seconds remaining, Voracek found Briere again at the side of the net and on a second effort, he beat Anderson.

“I had the feeling that they were going to play casual,” said Briere. “I think I was in a forecheck with less than 15 seconds when Jake was able to put it behind the net, all I was thinking was try to jam it. I knew that I didn’t have a lot of room.”

The win gives the Flyers their second straight at home, an area they had to improve on and hade a good stride with the win on Saturday.

“We haven’t really been happy with how we’ve played at home as of late,” said Coburn. “We definitely wanted to kind of change that.”

They can thank Briere for that.

“He’s not a big guy, fly weight,” said Laviolette. “But he did a good job in the fight. It gave our bench a lift. I thought it was not a good second period for us. We ended up coming out storming in the third period. We weren’t able to crack a goal right away but he certainly gave us a lift. He had a monster game.”

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