No one does it like Danny Briere in the playoffs.
Briere scored two goals against the Devils. He notched his third career overtime game-winner in the playoffs.
Briere now has 49 playoff goals in his career after Sundays 4-3 win against the Devils.
It was his 13th career game-winner and ninth as a Flyer. He has 26 goals in his last 41 playoff games.
His first OT game-winner was overturned because he kicked the puck in.
I wish it was always that easy, Briere said. You know, the first one on the ice, everything happened so quick, I didn't think that I kicked it. I thought I was trying to stop, and it bounced off my skate.
Looking at the replay I think it was a little obvious they made the right call on that. When I was on the bench there, you know there's a few seconds where you're shaking your head, saying they made the wrong call, and I can't believe this is happening.
And I said all right, you've got to stop pouting now, let's get back, refocus. And I was fortunate to have another break.
He thrives on pressure. And he overcomes pressure.
I don't know, is it pressure?" Briere asked. It's fun. I was saying earlier, I grew up watching playoff hockey when I was a kid, and I always dreamed I would have the chance to play in those big games.
When I have the opportunity like I have right now, this year, like I've had the last few years in the playoffs, you try to make the best of it. You try to enjoy it as much as possible. So it's not really pressure. It's a fun time, an exciting time."
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette had nothing but praise for Briere.
"I think some people rise to the big occasions. It speaks to the player, not a
game," Laviolette said of Briere. "I think through the course of history in sports, there are people who answer the bell."
Four times the Flyers have gone into overtime against the New Jersey Devils.
And four times they have emerged as the winner.
In all three previous series between the Flyers and Devils, the team that has won Game 1 has gone on to win the series.
Brieres line with James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek accounted for three of four goals in the game (see story).
Its going to be all series, Devils goalie Marty Brodeur said of Brieres line. Were going to have to pay special attention to certain players.
Theyre a good team, and they have good chemistry with certain players that have been together for a few years. Its the playoffs. We have to find ways to win.
Its tough to be physically ready for a playoff game when youve had nothing but practices for a week. But there are other ways to prepare.
Mentally, I think thats the easiest way to be prepared mentally, Voracek said. You know when its the second round of the playoffs, you try to get going, but they didnt play for three days and I think they had a little advantage in the first period. Since the second period, we took over the game, and we played well.
Considering the Flyers once again allowed the games first goal and then fought back to win theres no reason to believe they prepared themselves at all differently for this series from the previous one.
Thats what they needed
The first period went pretty well for Ilya Bryzgalov and not so well for the Flyers. The second and third periods were much better for the Flyers and considerably worse for Bryzgalov. And so it has gone for the goalie during these playoffs. You're never quite sure what to expect.
Bryzgalov allowed one goal on 15 shots in the first period. Then he surrendered two goals on just seven shots in the second and third periods. If Bryzgalov's play seemed slightly erratic, it didn't appear to phase Briere or Laviolette.
The good thing was, Bryz was strong, Briere said. Bryz kept us in the first period. Jersey was coming off a huge win, and they were still in that same mindset that its playoff hockey. They came out swinging. We were fortunate that Bryz kept it close.
Laviolette echoed that sentiment.
I thought Bryz had a heck of a first period when we weren't sharp, Laviolette said. We walked out of that period 1-0. He made some saves when we probably gave up seven or eight quality chances. We just weren't sharp. Then it flip-flopped the other way. He was sharp when we needed him to be because we needed to be better with what we were doing.
Brodeur said it was apparent how rested the Flyers were and it wasnt a bad things, after all.
They played well, he said. I thought at one point in the third, before they had a little breakdown where we tied up the game, they were really taking it to us.
They were fresh, and it showed. It was a little hard for us to play the last two periods and overtime. We came through a tough series against the Panthers, and were coming back quick. Now we have a little more than 48 hours to rest up and get ready for Game 2.
I think the second half of the game, we didn't dump the puck well enough to get our forecheck going. We didn't forecheck well enough the second half.
When we did in the first part, that's how we were having them in their zone, but the second part I think they were coming out a little too easy on us."
Bryzgalov on Briere:
He's a great player, Bryz said. We know what he capable to do. He can score the goals when you give him a chance. He always put it in the net. I don't think so he, like, was having disappointing season.
I think he play good, too. I don't know, guys. He's a great player. He's a great scorer, and he can do some things.
In anticipation of Game 2, Flyers Alumnus will join In-Arena Host Shawny Hill to Flyer Up the lunchtime crowd at Liberty Plave (16th and Chestnut Streets) by leading Lets Go Flyers chants and distributing free T-shirts and cheer cards to those in attendance.