Briere caps comeback victory as Flyers end winless skid
(Buffalo, NY) – Hollywood could not have scripted a better ending to a hockey game than what occurred in Buffalo as Danny Briere provided a dramatic, game-winning goal in the shootout to give the Flyers an improbable 4-3 comeback victory at HSBC Arena on Monday night.
With the shootout tied at one apiece and goaltender Martin Biron shutting the door on Buffalo’s third shooter, the stage was set for Briere to exact a little revenge on his former club.
Briere went in on Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller and baited him into going to the backhand, but quickly put on the brakes and reversed back to his forehand to leave behind a 10-game winless drought and clinch the victory for Philadelphia.
“All I was thinking was, this is perfect,” said Briere. “I can't be in a better position. I think we just got rewarded a little bit tonight for the way things have been going against us lately."
After a scoreless second period that saw the momentum slowly shifting the Flyers way, R.J. Umberger produced the game-tying goal on the power play with 7:15 left in regulation giving the Flyers three unanswered goals to force overtime and the eventual shootout.
Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell began the comeback with two goals in the first period after Buffalo had jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
"Never count this team down and out,” said Hartnell. “We have a lot of character guys on this team. Our energy was down after that third goal, but Carter made a huge play on that breakaway goal and I was able to get a good shot off on the second goal."
With the victory, the Flyers move back into the playoff picture as they claimed the eighth and final playoff spot, jumping ahead of the Sabres, with a 31-25-7 record for 69 points.
The night began in horrific fashion for Martin Biron and the Flyers. Derek Roy scored six minutes into the first period to get Buffalo out to an early lead and the Sabres struck again 11 seconds later on a goal by Clarke MacArthur causing Flyers’ Head Coach John Stevens to call a timeout to regroup the club.
To make matters even worse, Jason Pominville put the Flyers in a 3-0 hole, before Carter kicked off the comeback trail with a breakaway goal to put the Flyers on the board. Hartnell tallied 1:46 seconds later to bring Philly within a goal heading into the second period.
From then on out Biron shut down the Sabres offense, stopping 17 shots he saw from the second period on, including a spectacular save on a wide open Ales Kotalik at 14:10 of the second frame, to help keep it a one-goal game.
Biron stopped 26 of 29 total shots to record his first victory since February 2 against Anaheim.
The victory also ended a few other streaks as Philadelphia had lost its previous nine shootouts dating back to October 26, 2006 and owned an all time 5-16 record in the shootout prior to last night's win.
The Flyers also came back from three goals down for the first time in five years, dating back to February 13, 2003 when Philly handed the Blues a 4-3 overtime loss.
Mike Knuble added a pair of assists on the night, and defensemen Randy Jones and Braydon Coburn each had a helper, while Patrick Thoresen recorded his first point in a Flyers’ sweater with an assist on Hartnell’s goal.
The Flyers return home to the Wachovia Center to take on the Ottawa Senators on Thursday (7 p.m., Comcast SportsNet). It will be the fourth and final meeting of the regular season against the Sens, as the Flyers are unbeaten in regulation against Ottawa, going 2-0-1.
Jesse Boulerice made his season debut, returning to the lineup following his 25-game suspension and dropped the gloves with Andrew Peters on his first shift… Jeff Carter also scored in the shootout and now has points in his last two games… Three of the last four Flyers games have been decided past regulation play… The Flyers improved their record against Northeast Division to 6-6-3… Buffalo’s record against Atlantic currently stands at 5-8-4, and is 1-6-4 in last eleven games against an Atlantic Division opponent… Defenseman Jaroslav Modry left the game in the first period due to an upper-body injury.
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