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.

Shocker: Phillies interested in getting one of baseball's best players

Shocker: Phillies interested in getting one of baseball's best players

We're all looking forward to the free-agent class of 2018.

If Maikel Franco doesn't shape up, the Phillies could make a hard push for Manny Machado. Franco after a two-game benching is back in the lineup for this afternoon's game against the Rockies (see story).

Then, of course, there's Bryce Harper, who earlier this month agreed to a one-year, $21,625,000 deal for next season. 

And guess what? If Harper becomes a free agent after next season, the Phillies would be interested in signing him.

Really?

According to a FanRagSportsNetwork, citing a Phillies source, the Phils would be interested luring Harper to Philly.

Shocker. 

It'd be big news if a Phillies source said the team wasn't interested in signing Harper. 

Anyway, the story also quotes a National League scout.

“Could you imagine what he could do in that ballpark playing 81 games a year in that bandbox?” the scout said.

Chances are every Phillies fan has already imagined it. Harper this season alone is hitting .351/.400/.784 with five homers and 12 RBIs in nine games against the Phils. In three games at the Bank, he's hitting just .250 with a homer and two RBIs.

But in 38 career games at CBP, he's hitting .296/.361/.627 with 12 home runs and 26 RBIs.

In 89 career games against the Phillies, he's hitting .282 with 20 homers and 54 RBIs.

At the risk of stating the obvious, here's one thing to remember: If the Phils sign Harper, then he'd no longer benefit from facing them.

Today's Lineup: Franco batting cleanup as Phillies try to snap skid

Today's Lineup: Franco batting cleanup as Phillies try to snap skid

Well, this hasn't gone well. 

Coming into Thursday afternoon's game against the Rockies, the Phillies have lost five straight. They've lost nine of their last 10. They've lost 20 of their last 24. 

At 15-29, they're not just the worst team in the NL East. They're not just the worst team in the National League. 

Through 44 games, the Phillies are the worst team in baseball. 

Just to make it to a .500 record this season, they would need to go 66-52 (.559) the rest of the way. 

Their four-game series against the Rockies will mercifully come to a close on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. In the first three games of the series -- all losses -- the Phils have been outscored 23-5. 

Maikel Franco returns to the four-hole as the Phillies try to snap out of their funk.

The Phillies on Thursday also activated right-handed pitcher Jeanmar Gomez from the disabled list. Gomez takes Adam Morgan's spot on the roster. Morgan was reassigned to Triple A Lehigh Valley after throwing three scoreless innings during the Phillies' 7-2 loss to the Rockies.

Gomez hasn't pitched since May 4 because of an elbow injury. He began the season as the Phillies' closer but was demoted after blowing two saves and allowing seven runs in his first five innings. In 11 1/3 innings this season, Gomez has a 7.94 ERA.

Here's the full lineup: 

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Aaron Altherr, LF
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Tommy Joseph, 1B
6. Michael Saunders, RF
7. Cameron Rupp, C
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Vince Velasquez, P