Reliving Briere’s Best Playoff Goals as a Flyer

(Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
(Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

There is a very high probability that Daniel Briere’s time as a Philadelphia Flyer is all but over.  He left the Buffalo Sabres in the summer of 2007 to sign an 8-year deal with the Flyers.  The team is heading into the offseason in dire financial straits and writers, fans, and even Briere himself, have all but accepted that he will be amnestied when the season ends.

He’s put in time, effort, sweat, and blood every time he donned the Flyers crest and the city has appreciated him every step of the way.  Over the year’s his production has declined during the season, but a switch gets turned on every time he stepped on the ice come playoffs.

In 68 playoff games for the Flyers, Briere has scored 72 points (37 goals/35 assists).  At over a point-per-game playoff pace, it’s no wonder Flyers fans could muster the lack of productivity during the regular season.  They knew Danny B would show up when it really counted – and boy, did he ever.

Briere goes off for two goals against the Devils in Game 1 – 2012

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Briere was a master at giving the Devils a run for their money.  After making mince meat of the Penguins in the quarterfinals of 2012, the Flyers needed to set the tone early against their neighboring rivals.  Briere did just that by netting a breakaway goal past Martin Brodeur.  The rest of the match was a back and forth battle between both clubs, which set the stage for some overtime magic.

With the game knotted at three apiece, the Flyers were able to sustain pressure in the Devils zone early in the overtime frame.  Jakub Voracek was able to get away from the reach of Marek Zidlicky enough to get the puck to an open Briere at the high slot.  Danny didn’t think twice before letting go a laser that found the back of the net, sending the Wells Fargo Center into pure pandemonium.

Unfortunately, as is the case with many recent Flyers teams, Briere and the squad were not able to overcome the mighty Devils and were swept in the next 4 games.  But for a brief instant, there was a glimmer of hope that the Flyers could do to the Devils what they did to the Penguins.

Tone is set early in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals – 2010

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The Flyers/Canadiens series was one for the ages.  No one figured the two lowest ranked teams would meet in the Eastern Conference Finals, but they did.  The Canadiens were riding quite the hot streak, having defeated two of arguably the best teams at the time, Washington and Pittsburgh.  The Flyers were riding the upset wave as they had just pulled off the improbable, coming back from three games down to win the series against the “Big,Bad” Boston Bruins.

The Flyers routed Montreal in Game 1, 6-0, and looked to continue to their onslaught in Game 2.  Briere was up for the challenge and it didn’t take very long to get the team going.

Breaking up the middle, Danny found a streaking Giroux on the wing, who quickly passed it back to Brier.  Briere faked the shot, got defenseman Hal Gill out of position, and roofed a wrister (top cheddar, mind you) past Jaroslav Halak.

Philadelphia would go on to secure back-to-back shutouts and wipe the Canadiens clean in 5 games before moving on to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Mr. Clutch ignites a controversial comeback – 2012

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It’s not secret the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins don’t like each other.  Just ask Sidney Crosby.

Two weeks prior to Game 1, the teams got into a bit of a scuffle over an open ice hit on Briere by Joe Vitale – even the coaches got into it.

It was safe to say the teams wouldn’t go away easy.  After three quick goals in the first period by the Pens, it was time for Briere to work his magic.  Thanks to a minor gaff by the linesman, Briere accepted a pass for a breakaway even though he was a fraction offsides.  He broke into the zone and sniped a shot past a diving Fleury.  And he would not stop there…

Halfway through the 3rd period, Briere was able to make room for himself along the boards and fired a shot at Marc-Andre Fleury.  The goalie was screened by two defensemen when the shot was released and was redirected off Sidney Crosby to pull the Flyers to within one goal.  Oh how sweet it is!

Brayden Schenn would tally a powerplay goal a few minutes later, sending Game 1 to overtime.  The heroics of Jakub Voracek were showcased 2 minutes in, and the Flyers escaped with a 4-3 win to take the first game.  Philadelphia would win the series 4-2.

Briere ties the greatest game in Flyers history – 2010

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They shouldn’t have even come close to a game 7.  They shouldn’t have tied the score.  They shouldn’t have won the series.  But they did.

If you ask any Flyers fan, the series with the Boston Bruins in the Semifinals of 2010 was probably the greatest series they had ever witnessed.  The Flyers fell 3 games to the Bruins and were hanging on by threads.  By some miracle, the Flyers were able to win three straight games and be within a single win of history.  The last time any team had won a series after trailing 3-0 were the 1975 Islanders.  It’s a record that was achieved in 35 years.

The Flyers started Game 7 flat footed.  The Bruins picked apart the defense and Michael Leighton by scoring three goals in the first.  It was a scenario the Flyers were used to seeing and they knew they could pull it off.  A quick goal by James van Riemsdyk at the end of the 1st period diminished Boston’s goal margin to two goals.  Scott Hartnell would come back in the 2nd period and cut the lead to one.  And then in stepped Daniel Briere.

As Hartnell was battling along the boards, the puck squeaked to the middle of the ice.  Briere grabbed the puck in stride, swung out wide right, and tried a wraparound past a sprawling Tuuka Rask.

Matt Hunwick, the Bruins defenseman, did his best to poke the puck from Briere’s stick.  The puck hit Hunwick’s blade, rolled up the stick, and bounced off his body into the net.  Bruins fans were stunned, mouths agape in disbelief.

They’d come back from three games down to tie the series.  Now the Flyers had come back from three goals down to tie the game.  If Briere wasn’t a fan favorite before, that goal certainly put him on the map.

Philadelphia would do the unthinkable when Gagne wristed a shot past Rask with a little over seven minutes to go in the final frame.  The team would hold on to win the game and the series earning a spot in the annals of the hockey history books.


Dear Mr. Briere,
     It's been a pleasure watching you for the past 6 years in the City of Brotherly Love.  We're forever grateful you chose Philadelphia as your city.  I'd like to think the fans put as much effort into you as much as you put into the fans and the team.  You've been a mentor to the players, an upstanding citizen to the fans, and you've filled our lives with elation, fond memories, and a resilience, fortitude, and tenacity that bleeds Orange and Black.  Wherever you decide to go from here, just know, the "Flyers Faithful" will have your back.  Godspeed, Danny.  Thanks for everything you've done.


The City of Philadelphia

P.S. We're gonna miss your patented fist-pump goal celebration.

Follow Shawn Reznik on Twitter: @ShawnTHW