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Daniel Briere's hat trick leads Flyers to 6-3 win over Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. - Daniel Briere needed fewer than 15 minutes to deliver his best game with the Flyers.

Briere scored three goals in the third period to lead Philadelphia past the Carolina Hurricanes 6-3 on Wednesday night.

"That, to me, is the best he's looked all year," Philadelphia coach John Stevens said.

Briere added an assist during his third career hat trick and first with the Flyers, helping them snap a two-game losing streak, bounce back from a 6-2 home loss to New Jersey and remain two points behind the New York Rangers in the Atlantic Division.

"We weren't very happy with the loss against Jersey," Briere said. "It was a tough loss at home and to get embarrassed like that, there was a lot on the line tonight. We wanted to prove our start wasn't a fluke, and we can play with the best teams."

Mike Knuble had a goal and two assists, Kimmo Timonen also scored and Scott Hartnell added an empty-netter for Philadelphia, which won for just the second time this season when trailing after one period.

Martin Biron stopped 32 shots but allowed the NHL's second-best power-play unit to connect three times. The Flyers entered having allowed one power-play goal in six games.

Matt Cullen had a goal and two assists, Rod Brind'Amour and Eric Staal also scored and Cam Ward stopped 15 shots for the Southeast Division-leading Hurricanes, who have lost three of four.

"We did a few things right, but we had some breakdowns, some things that we can't have happen if we're going to win a lot of hockey games," Cullen said.

Briere scored three times in a 14:18 span of the third, with each goal putting Philadelphia up by two.

His first came 21 seconds into the period when Knuble intercepted Ward's clearing attempt in the right circle and backhanded the puck to Briere, who scored on a forehand. Then, after Staal pulled Carolina to 3-2, Briere snatched the rebound of Braydon Coburn's slap shot and tucked it between Ward's pads and the post.

He capped the hat trick by scoring on the power play, weaving through the slot and firing a quick wrist shot that beat Ward high to his glove side with 5:21 left.

"He's a gifted player, and we gave him chances where he was in a prime scoring area," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "A player like that, he isn't going to miss."

Briere's final goal came moments after the Flyers killed a two-man disadvantage that lasted 1:17, a critical defensive stretch that prevented Carolina from tying it and included two shots blocked by Timonen and one by Sami Kapanen.

"It was the turn of the game," Briere said. "When you get a 5-on-3 and you score, it is a big break. If you kill it, it is an even bigger break. It's like scoring a goal because you get huge momentum."

Brind'Amour gave the Hurricanes their only lead when his first-period goal made it 1-0. He fired a shot off Biron's pads and then tapped the rebound past his glove for his 11th goal of the season and sixth against the team with whom he spent 8½ seasons.

The Flyers led 2-1 in the second after scoring twice in less than two minutes, tying it when Knuble one-timed a rebound past Ward with about five minutes left. They took the lead for good when Timonen's slap shot from the point beat a flopped Ward high to his glove side.

"The result is really frustrating," said Carolina winger Justin Williams, who was called for a career-high four penalties. "We're going to go through lulls in the season, and we're in one now, and we need to come out real quick."

Notes: Philadelphia C Mike Richards had an assist to extend his point streak to seven games. ... The Hurricanes lost for just the second time when Brind'Amour scores. ... Philadelphia managed just three shots in the first period. ... The Flyers improved to 10-0 when leading after two periods. ... Carolina LW Andrew Ladd played in his 100th NHL game, and Cullen - in his second stint with Carolina - played his 100th as a member of the Hurricanes.


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