The loved and adored Danny Briere returned to Philadelphia, a place that he calls home, for the first time last night after the Flyers had bought out the remaining 2 years on the veteran’s contract last summer. The Flyers, who had the most expensive payroll in the NHL last season and missed playoffs, were looking to shred in order to get under the salary cap. Numerous Briere Flyers jerseys were being worn around the arena last night as a tribute video was shown, honoring Briere’s 6 seasons in Philadelphia. The fans gave Briere a standing ovation, displaying the love to Briere, who gave a wave but all the love in the world did not mean the Flyers would let Danny’s new team win.
“We were trying to come out hard and play in their end,” said Michael Raffl who put the Flyers on top early in the game.
And that they did, as they nearly shutout the Montreal Canadiens last night during their return to home ice. The Canadiens couldn’t score on the Flyers at even strength and they couldn’t score on the Flyers during their power plays. It took pulling their goaltender and playing 6 on 5 during the last minute of the 3rd period for the Canadiens to racket one to the back of the net, cutting the Flyers lead in half.
“We are pretty excited to play at home again. To play in front of our fans is always a little boost,” said team captain Claude Giroux who scored last night for his 6th goal of the season. “We learned the hard way in Chicago, I don’t know how many power plays they had, to stay outta the box. Momentum stays on our side and when we did have a penalty kill we did a good job.”
The Flyers have been good during the 1st period and last night was no exception although they usually let off the gas after that. But last night, the Flyers played a complete game, pedal to the metal, with great goaltending. Only thanks to Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price was the score kept low, as he came through with the big saves to keep his team in the contest. The Flyers had plenty of opportunities to run up the score board but they could not convert their power plays, after the Emelin/Downie incident that gave the Flyers 5 minutes of advantage that was left unanswered.
“I think there’s a lot of character in the room. They certainly weren’t happy about that loss in Chicago because they wanted to show that they could compete with that team and it didn’t work out,” said Head Coach Craig Berube.
It took the Canadiens 59 minutes to find the back of the net and then they had mere seconds to find their equalizer. That equalizer never came for the Canadiens but this game could have been too close for comfort if an earlier goal for the Canadiens was not waived off. After 2 big loses on the road, this was a big win for the Flyers, over a team that has been steam rolling on the road.
“Good win tonight. They showed up and played a good team game,” were the final words of a satisfied coach.
This was the 6th consecutive win for the Philadelphia Flyers on home ice…but wait a minute Steve Mason sparked a brawl after the game as he shoved an opposing player out of his crease. Is Ray Emery rubbing off on him? Finally the initiation Mason needed to become a true Flyer, as he sported a small gash and stream of blood under his right eye during his post-game interview. That a boy Mas!
With high hopes that the winning habit is catching on in Philadelphia, hopefully these boys can take the habit on the road with them as they head to Washington – their fathers in tow. Fathers who seemed to have been a good luck charm last night because no one wants to disappoint their father.