Mad Hatter: Briere Does the Dirty Work in Flyers' Overtime Win

Mad Hatter: Briere Does the Dirty Work in Flyers' Overtime Win

Danny Briere was a busy guy on Saturday. Not only did he score all three Flyers goals to earn his fifth career hat trick, but he even mixed it up in his third career fight. Thanks to Briere's toughness and outstanding all-around effort, the Flyers were able to outlast the Ottawa Senators, picking up their two points in the final seconds of overtime.

It wasn't pretty either. Briere had to get his hands dirty in this one.

Midway into the first period, Jakub Voracek started a rush out of the Flyers zone, avoiding a huge would-be collision in the neutral zone, and carried the puck across the blue line. He dished off to Briere, who was looking to unload on Craig Anderson. Briere fanned on the shot however, sending a slow roller in on Ottawa's netminder.

The flub actually worked to Danny's advantage. A seemingly stunned Anderson blocked the shot, but wasn't decisive about covering it, laying out on the ice while the rebound kicked right back to Briere with the whole net to shoot at. 1-0.

The Sens pulled ahead 2-1 with goals in the second and third, but that meant it was Danny Briere time.

After failing to capitalize on their previous five power plays, the sixth time was the charm. Peter Laviolette called a timeout prior to an earlier PP, and as we've become accustomed, Lavy's usage of the pause proved to be brilliant. The Flyers started to have sustained pressure on the advantage, which led to the eventual score.

During the attack, the Flyers were able to move the disc out of the corner to Kimmo Timonen, who had plenty of room to operate at the point. Briere deflected the blast, which took a second bounce off the stick of Ottawa D-man Chris Phillips, and bounced into the net to knot the score.

It appeared Briere's deflection might have skittered wide were it not for the inadvertent intervention by Phillips, but those are the breaks.

Intense back-and-forth action during the overtime, but it appeared the game was headed for shootout. Then Danny Briere happened.

It was Voracek again on the set up, this time sending the puck along the back boards behind the net to Briere, who just chillin' in his office. He swung it out and shot the backhand, which was stopped but not controlled. Briere kept working, jamming the puck past Anderson on the second try with 5.3 second remaining, sending hats to ice amidst chants of "Danny."

Briere said of the hats and the ovation, "That was the best feeling. A hat trick in overtime, the game winning goal, winning the game I mean that's all at once, all at the same time. That was a really good feeling."

And don't forget the fight. Briere must've taken exception to a cheap shot by Kyle Turris earlier on, when Turris delivered an unnecessary blow while Briere lay prone on the ice. Be sure to check out the video of Briere's fisticuffs. It was a doozy.

The goals bumped Briere's total up to 12 for the season. Also of note, he now has six goals in the three games when he's fought.

Much of the talk will be about Briere's fantastic individual effort, but this was also a very nice performance from Voracek, his second strong outing in a row.

Bryzgalov also played one of his best games in awhile, stopping 35 shots on 37 attempts. The goals he allowed both came on rebounds, one of those during a five-on-three advantage for Ottawa. Otherwise Bryz was stellar, and made some genuinely outstanding saves to keep overtime and the two points on the table.

Fun, memorable win for the Flyers over a team that coming in had won four straight, three of those after regulation. They'll complete the home and home tomorrow in Ottawa at 5 p.m.

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Islanders 2 (OT)

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Islanders 2 (OT)

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK — The Flyers, in dire need of a confidence boost, found one at the Barclays Center.

Trailing 2-0 in the second period on Sunday night, the Flyers stormed back to beat the Islanders in overtime, 3-2, and stop some serious bleeding.

Claude Giroux netted the game-winner, his first marker in 13 games.

On Saturday, the Flyers’ return from five days off was unceremonious to say the least, as they lost badly to the Devils, 4-1, after entering their NHL mandated bye week losers in 11 of the last 14 games.

So this was a game they desperately had to have and got it.

The Flyers (23-19-6) picked up just their fourth win since Dec. 17, improving to 4-9-3 since rattling off 10 straight victories, a streak that seems like ages ago.

Speaking of streaks, the Flyers snapped a nine-game losing slide on the road in which they had been outscored, 36-12.

The Islanders (19-17-9) had their three-game winning streak halted. On Tuesday, New York fired its head coach Jack Capuano.

Notable goals
Shayne Gostisbehere converted a nifty wraparound pass to Giroux, who finished the winner.

Ivan Provorov made it all possible with a beautiful play to tie the game at 2-2 less than two minutes into the final stanza. The rookie defenseman took a pass at the blue line and patiently maneuvered by two Islanders before unleashing a shot from the circle that got past Islanders netminder Thomas Greiss off the skate of his own defenseman Adam Pelech.

It marked Provorov’s first goal since he scored two against the Blackhawks on Dec. 3.

Wayne Simmonds kept another game from unraveling when he beat Greiss with 5:50 left in the second stanza. Simmonds gathered a loose puck off the skate of Brayden Schenn and fired it home to trim the deficit to 2-1 and give him his team-leading 19th marker.

"It was a bouncing puck and [Radko Gudas] made a great play and kept it in,” Simmonds said at second intermission. “There were a couple more bounces and I just picked it up and shot it far side and it went in.”

In the first period, Islanders leading scorer John Tavares got things started with a takeaway that resulted in Steve Mason under siege. Tavares, who stripped an Andrew MacDonald pass to Jakub Voracek, went in uncontested on Mason, who denied the shot and follow attempt from Anders Lee. With the puck still loose in the crease and Mason on his side, Ivan Provorov knocked it out but right to Nick Leddy for a clean wrist shot and goal with 6:35 remaining in the opening stanza.

At 4:47 of the second period, Mason was unable to control a rebound and New York took advantage. Alan Quine came in and fluttered the puck over Mason’s shoulders to give the Islanders a 2-0 advantage.

No goal
The Flyers had 33 seconds of 5-on-3 action early in the second period, when they put the puck on Greiss, who couldn’t secure it. It created a mad jumble of bodies at the net but somehow the puck never crossed the goal line. The play was ruled no goal and later confirmed by official review.

The Flyers failed to score later at 5-on-4 and the Islanders used the momentum to extend their lead moments later on Quine’s tally.

Goalie report
Mason, who had not won since Dec. 21, made 36 saves.

He entered with a 4.03 goals-against average over his last 10 appearances but made a number of timely stops, including four in one wild sequence of a New York power play during the third period. He also turned away a Tavares breakaway in the extra session.

Coming off back-to-back shutouts in which he made 55 total saves, Greiss stopped 44 shots. He went to a full split to rob Sean Couturier midway through the second period and stoned Provorov in overtime before allowing the winner.

Power play
The man advantage, which went 0 for 6 on Saturday and was 0 for its last 11 coming in, went 0 for 3.

The Islanders finished 0 for 2.

Penalty kill
Lacking discipline in their first game back from the bye week, the Flyers were forced to go on the penalty kill seven times Saturday, allowing two goals.

On Sunday, the Flyers didn’t allow New York a power play until the final stanza. The Flyers finished 2 for 2 on the PK.

The Islanders stopped all three Flyers power plays.

Hits
Brayden Schenn skated to the bench hunched over after colliding with Josh Bailey in open ice during the second period. Schenn was OK and returned his next shift.

The Islanders outhit the Flyers, 23-12.

Scratches
For the Flyers: Forward Dale Weise, and defensemen Michael Del Zotto and Nick Schultz, all healthy.

Defenseman Brandon Manning returned to the lineup after two straight healthy scratches.

For the Islanders: Forwards Andrew Ladd (upper-body injury) and Stephen Gionta (healthy), and defenseman Scott Mayfield (healthy).

Next up
The Flyers follow their back-to-back with another such set. First up are the Rangers on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden before the Flyers come home Thursday to face the Maple Leafs, who currently trail the Flyers by a point for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot.

NFL Playoffs: Matt Ryan, Falcons dismantle Packers to reach Super Bowl LI

NFL Playoffs: Matt Ryan, Falcons dismantle Packers to reach Super Bowl LI

The Atlanta Falcons are headed to their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history after routing the Green Bay Packers 44-21 in the NFC championship game.

Matt Ryan threw for four touchdowns, including a 73-yard catch-and-run for a highlight-reel score by star receiver Julio Jones. The defense played just as crucial a role in containing quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense.

Rodgers had 287 yards with three touchdown passes and an interception. But the Falcons got to Rodgers with pressure and forced two Green Bay turnovers. Rodgers was outplayed by Ryan, who even ran for a 14-yard touchdown.

Atlanta will play either New England or Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 in Houston.

The only other time that Atlanta made the Super Bowl was in the 1998 season. The Falcons lost 34-19 to the Denver Broncos.

The Packers fell in the NFC title game for the second time in three seasons.