January 15 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Danny Briere continues to show the hockey world he was the best forward not selected for the All-Star Game.
Briere scored with 7 minutes, 12 seconds remaining Friday night, sparking the Flyers to a 5-2 win over Atlanta at the sparsely filled Philips Arena.
With the score tied, 2-2, Scott Hartnell’s drive was tipped by Ville Leino to Briere, who was a few feet to his right. Goalie Ondrej Pavelec had to defend against Leino, so Briere was able to knock the puck into the empty net for his 24th goal – tied for fifth in the NHL.
“I knew we were there alone, and I was just trying to stop the puck, and it worked out perfectly and went right to Danny,” Leino said.
“Scotty just tried to put it on net, and both me and Ville kind of snuck behind their defenseman,” said Briere, who thought his line had a “so-so game” until late in the final period. “It was a nice redirection by Ville, backdoor to me. He knew I was waiting there.”
The diminutive center has 11 points – six goals and five assists – in his last six games.
Briere’s line has combined for a staggering 17 goals and 16 assists in the last nine games.
Claude Giroux snapped a 10-game goal-less streak by adding an insurance goal with 2:57 remaining, and Jeff Carter contributed an empty-net goal.
The Flyers, who increased their Atlantic Division lead to three points over idle Pittsburgh, are 5-3 during a stretch in which they are playing nine of 10 games on the road. They will have a difficult challenge Sunday in New York against the Rangers.
Rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, making his second start in the last three games, improved to 17-6-3.
The Flyers got offensive production from two unexpected sources – Jody Shelley and Kimmo Timonen, each of whom notched his second goal of the season.
The Flyers bounced back from Thursday’s wild, 7-5 loss in Boston.
“We wanted to get back on track right away; we didn’t want it to drag on,” said Briere, who has scored a goal in five straight games, one shy of equaling his career best, set in 2001 with Phoenix. “We know we have another big game in New York to finish this road trip, so we wanted to stop the bleeding right away.”
“The good thing was to get back on the ice and play a game [Friday] and not have to think about” the third-period collapse in Boston, coach Peter Laviolette said.
It was a tight-checking, scoreless game for more than 36 minutes – and then the teams, stunningly, combined for four goals in the last 3:23 of the second period.
With Timonen in the penalty box for hooking, Atlanta’s Rich Peverley scored off his own rebound with three seconds left in the second, tying the game at 2.
Andrew Ladd, who played for Chicago’s Stanley Cup-winning team last year, had given Atlanta a 1-0 lead by scoring from the slot with 3:23 left in the second. But Shelley and Timonen scored in a 21-second span to put the Flyers ahead, 2-1.
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