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.

Best of NHL: Patrick Kane hat trick lifts Blackhawks over Coyotes

Best of NHL: Patrick Kane hat trick lifts Blackhawks over Coyotes

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane scored three goals for his third career hat trick to lead the surging Chicago Blackhawks past the Arizona Coyotes 6-3 on Thursday night for their third straight win and eighth in nine games.

Kane has 23 goals to lead Chicago, which closed within three points behind first-place Minnesota in the Central Division and Western Conference.

Rookies Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman each had a goal and assist. Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival scored his first goal of the season in his first game since Jan. 15.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews added two assists to extend his points scoring streak to five games and increase his output to 22 points in his past 13.

Jakob Chychrun, Ryan White and Radim Vrbata scored for the Coyotes. Chychrun and Vrbata each scored for the second straight game (see full recap).

Rangers outlast Maple Leafs in shootout
TORONTO -- Mika Zibanejad scored the shootout winner and the New York Rangers continued a strong February with a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves and J.T. Miller scored the game-tying goal in the third period for the Rangers, who improved to 8-1-1 this month.

New York moved into third place in the Metropolitan Division with 80 points.

Connor Brown scored for Toronto, which fell to 1-7 in shootouts this season. Frederik Andersen had a stellar performance in defeat with 37 saves.

The Leafs hold the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division (68 points), two points back of Ottawa (70) and four back of Montreal (see full recap).

Islanders shut out Canadiens
MONTREAL -- Rookie Anthony Beauvillier scored in the first period, Thomas Greiss made 24 saves, and the New York Islanders beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 Thursday night.

Anders Lee scored in the second period and John Tavares added an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the Islanders' third straight win. New York has won the first two games on a crucial nine-game road swing and improved to 12-4-2 since interim coach Doug Weight replaced the fired Jack Capuano.

Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson each had two assists, and Greiss got his third shutout of the season.

Carey Price finished with 21 saves as the Canadiens lost coach Claude Julien's 1,000th NHL game. Montreal is 1-2-0 since Julien replaced Michel Therrien last week and has totaled just 14 goals while going 2-7-1 in the last 10 games, including four shutouts (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Rockets crush Pelicans to spoil Cousins' debut

Best of NBA: Rockets crush Pelicans to spoil Cousins' debut

NEW ORLEANS -- The Boogie-and-Brow era in New Orleans is off to a highly inauspicious start.

The Pelicans' tandem of newly acquired All-Star DeMarcus Cousins and All-Star Game MVP Anthony Davis was no match for the surging Houston Rockets on Thursday night.

Reserve Lou Williams hit seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points in his Rockets debut, and Houston crushed New Orleans, 129-99.

Davis had 29 points, and Cousins finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds. But New Orleans turned the ball over 20 times couldn't keep pace with the firepower of the Rockets, who hit 20 3-pointers.

Eric Gordon scored 19 points and Ryan Anderson added 17 in both players' first game in New Orleans since leaving the Pelicans. James Harden had 13 points and 14 assists (see full recap).

LeBron triple-double powers Cavs past Knicks
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James recorded his 48th career triple-double and Kyrie Irving scored 23 points, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 119-104 victory over the New York Knicks, who hung on to superstar Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose at Thursday's trade deadline.

James scored 18 points and had 13 rebounds with 15 assists for his sixth triple-double of the season.

Anthony, the subject of trade rumors because of a strained relationship with Knicks President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson, scored 20 points, going 9 of 25 from the field.

Kyle Korver scored 20 points for Cleveland, which is 8-1 in February and has beaten New York 10 straight times.

Courtney Lee had 25 points for New York, which has lost six of seven and is 12th in the Eastern Conference playoff race (see full recap).

Pistons rally from 18 down to beat Hornets in OT
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 33 points, including three 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter during a pulsating Detroit rally, and the Pistons outlasted the Charlotte Hornets 114-108 in overtime Thursday night.

Caldwell-Pope scored Detroit's last 11 points of regulation, and his 3-pointer with 18.2 seconds to play tied the game at 100. Kemba Walker scored Charlotte's final nine points of the fourth, but the Pistons forced him to give up the ball on the last possession, and Marco Belinelli missed a 3-pointer that could have won it.

Detroit, which was behind by 18 in the third quarter, never trailed in the overtime. Caldwell-Pope's 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining put the Pistons up 110-102.

Charlotte led 85-70 at the start of the fourth but missed 14 of its first 15 shots in the period, enabling Detroit to cut into the lead.

Walker scored 34 points. Tobias Harris had 25 for the Pistons (see full recap).