PHILADELPHIA – One way to look at the way the Flyers closed out their home portion of this truncated is that at least there were a few happy endings.
The Flyers 2-1 win over the New York Islanders came courtesy of three players who were in serious need of a pick-me-up.
First, there was Danny Briere, who hadn’t scored in 20 games and is facing an uncertain future.
Without knowing what his status will be, many Flyers fans applauded his every move – including his ritual of shooting the last puck into the net for pregame warmups.
And then, of course, Briere scored a goal. There was no trademark fist pump. Instead it was just a sigh of relief that he was able to end his drought.
“It was a good feeling,” Briere said. “I’ve been here a long time, we’ve been together through some good times and some bad times, some hot stretches and some slumps, so yeah, I definitely felt a little extra clap there [from the fans].
“Thanks to the fans here in Philly, every year I’ve been treated awesome by [them] and I couldn’t ask for a better place to play.”
Briere scored on a power play, taking a great pass from Brayden Schenn and going on instinct alone, one-timed it into the net.
He admitted he never saw the pass, but just stuck his stick out and Schenn put it on the tape perfectly.
“Danny is such a nice guy and a great hockey player,” said Jake Voracek. “I don't know what's going to happen. I don't really pay attention to that. I hope he is going to stay but it's not obviously up to us but it's very good to see him get a goal and end the home season on a positive note.”
Then there is Oliver Lauridsen. The rookie Flyers defenseman had to endure somebody else actually scoring his first NHL goal for him Tuesday against Boston.
All he did was dump the puck into the zone and then watched as Zdeno Chara banked it off his own goaltender and in the net for the goal.
And while that will always go down as his first official goal, he needed another one that was a bit more legitimate to put on his mantle.
So how about one game later, scoring on a howitzer from the half wall that… oh by the way…. turned out to be the game-winner?
That’s what happened and it earned the big Dane star of the game honors.
“I think that first one I am going to remember forever, actually,” Lauridsen said. “This one I probably will too, but I’ll take both of them definitely.”
And then there’s Ilya Bryzgalov. He didn’t have too difficult a night, only having to make 21 saves, but the much-maligned goalie guaranteed himself finishing with a winning record in a very trying and difficult season.
“For me, it’s always been my philosophy that everyone has to take care of his own business,” Bryzgalov said. “You have to prepare yourself and be responsible. You can’t look for someone else, just be responsible for yourself and everything else will take care of itself. If you do your job well then everyone does their job well; things will be much better.”
The Flyers finished out the season with a strong home record (15-7-2), which is a good sign as they head into the offseason following Saturday’s season finale in Ottawa.
“I think from a team standpoint the guys have done a nice job with making sure they come back and trying to keep the game simple,” said coach Peter Laviolette. “I think the guys who have stepped in did a really nice job. Tonight the shots and chances were low but that always hasn’t been the case. There have been games where we gave up too many shots and chances but then our goaltenders have been really good.
“Bryzgalov was good tonight, he was terrific. I think it’s more of a team commitment and our goaltenders have done a nice job as well.”
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