Flyers top Devils on Briere's OT winner
Philadelphia, PA – Danny Briere says he doesn't feel pressure in the playoffs.
Instead, the overriding feeling is of excitement.
"When I have the opportunity like I have this year, like I've had the past few years in the playoffs, you try to make the best of it and enjoy it as much as possible," said Briere.
Briere scored his second goal of the game 4:36 into overtime Sunday afternoon and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the New Jersey Devils, 4-3, to open their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Briere's game winner came moments after he had a goal disallowed because it was kicked in with his left skate.
The fifth-seeded Flyers, after a slow start, peppered Martin Brodeur with 36 shots and took a 1-0 lead in the series despite allowing the Devils to tie the game twice in the last two periods.
James van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux also scored and Ilya Bryzgalov made four of his 23 saves in OT for the Flyers, who were playing for the first time in a week after knocking off the Penguins in six games.
Zach Parise, Travis Zajac and Petr Sykora scored for the sixth-seeded Devils, with Sykora's goal tying the game 11:22 into the third period.
Brodeur gave up all four goals, including the game-winner on Philadelphia's seventh shot of the extra period.
The Devils, after beating Florida in double-overtime Thursday to win Game 7 of their quarterfinal series, will try to even this series in Game 2 on Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
"We were able to erase a couple of leads and stayed in the game. I wish we could have kept that pace up that we had in the first period," said Parise. "We didn't really give them much room out there, but I thought we played a pretty solid game all around."
Briere's disallowed goal touched off a muted celebration by the Flyers, most of them realizing he had directed the tipped pass into the net with his skate.
But there was no doubt about his next shot, a rifled blast from the point that made it through a van Riemsdyk screen and past Brodeur for Briere's seventh goal of the postseason.
It gave him 26 goals in his last 41 playoff games dating back to 2010 and 49 in 104 career postseason games.
"When he gets the puck on his stick, something is going to happen. That's why he's so dangerous," said Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who had an assist. "He's money in the playoffs."
Earlier, Giroux also got his seventh goal of the playoffs on a hard one-timer from the middle of the left circle that beat Brodeur over his shoulder 4:19 into the third period to make it 3-2 Flyers.
Giroux won a faceoff on the right side to set up the play, then shifted across the ice for Timonen's pass.
Sykora's tying goal came just over seven minutes later and followed a Flyers giveaway inside the New Jersey zone. Sykora ended up behind a Philly defender and slipped a shot through Bryzgalov's legs from the left side to make it 3-3.
After Sykora's goal, Brodeur made a blocker save on van Riemsdyk as he went to the ice in the crease.
It was one of 15 shots by the Flyers in the third. Van Riemsdyk had another good chance with around 3:15 remaining in regulation on an open shot in the slot, but Brodeur stopped him again.
Early in the first period, Flyers rookie Matt Read, a forward, turned the puck over behind his own net and Patrik Elias passed to Parise in the left circle for a one-timer and 1-0 Devils lead just 3:16 in.
New Jersey had double digits shots before the Flyers got their first and ended the opening period with a 15-6 advantage.
"That was embarrassing. We can't come out like that," said Giroux. "It's unacceptable and we are lucky enough to have Bryz shut the door and he made some huge stops for us."
The Flyers took a 2-1 lead with goals 37 seconds apart in the middle period.
Jakub Voracek hit Briere with a long pass behind two defenders and Briere beat a puzzled Brodeur to tie the game.
Moments later, Brodeur threw his left pad into the air to stop a point shot from Flyers defenseman Erik Gustafsson, but was unable to scramble to stop van Riemsdyk's rebound from the low left side, which made it 2-1 at the 8:44 mark.
The Devils tied the game 31 seconds into a Matt Carle hooking penalty when Parise slid a pass all the way from the left boards to Zajac on the other side of the net for a tip-in that squeezed through Bryzgalov's legs and trickled over the line.
The Atlantic Division rivals finished one point away from each other in the regular season...The Flyers and Devils have met four other times in the playoffs: the Devils won the 1995 and 2000 Eastern Conference finals, while the Flyers captured quarterfinal series in 2004 and '10.