PHILADELPHIA – Daniel Briere was steaming on the Philadelphia Flyers bench, upset at himself and his line for giving the Montreal Canadiens a new life.
So he went out and did something about it.
Briere’s power-play goal at 16:22 of the third period put a dagger in a spirited Canadiens comeback to give the Flyers a 4-2 win Wednesday and a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference semi-final.
Briere and his linemates Vaclav Prospal and Scott Hartnell were on the ice while the Canadiens scored twice in 37 seconds to tie the game 2-2, but less than three minutes later Briere settled his score.
“It was a little frustrating that we were on the ice for the two Canadiens goals,” Briere said. “We were really disappointed about that, but we all told each other that we had to get it back, we had to get our lead back. We felt bad to have let our teammates down, but it was a good feeling to get our lead back.”
Briere had only one goal and no assists in the first three games of the series, with his line hampered largely by the fact it does not kill penalties and the Flyers were spending a lot of time in the box.
But the line combined for five points Wednesday night, and none were bigger than Briere’s winner on the power play when he slid in a loose puck from the side of the net.
“Our line didn’t have a chance to play much last game because of all the penalties, so we wanted to come back with a strong game,” Briere said. “Up until that point, we were in their zone most of the night. We created a lot. One of us was on the ice for all three (Flyers) goals. So when they scored those two goals it was frustrating.”
Briere could have been considered responsible for Montreal’s first goal, losing a faceoff to Tomas Plekanec, who then went to the net unchecked to tip in a Josh Gorges point shot. After Saku Koivu scored to tie it at 13:36 of the third, Briere was seen fishing the puck out of his own net and shooting it away in disgust.
But after Steve Begin took an interference penalty to send the Flyers on the power play, Briere realized it was his shot at redemption and he made the most of it.
“I was in the right place at the right time, I don’t feel like a hero,” Briere said. “I don’t want to start celebrating too quickly because we have a lot of work left. It’s definitely a nice feeling, but it’s far from over.”