Danny Briere said he had been playing better lately, but the bounces weren’t going in. When the postseason starts, those bounces have a way of finding the back of the net for Briere.
And if his performance in Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens is any indication, then the Flyers will feel more confident about their offense heading into the postseason.
Briere scored two power play goals after entering the game with two. He has now scored 16 goals for the season. What is surprising is that Briere had not scored a non-empty net goal in his previous 29 games.
That’s a long time, especially for one of the NHL’s top postseason players.
Briere couldn’t say for sure how much effect his concussion that he suffered on Jan. 21 had on the scoring drought.
Keep in mind, he didn’t have a goal in seven straight games including the one he was injured.
Then after missing six games, he had just one empty net goal in the next 22 games before his performance in a win that clinched the Flyers a playoff berth.
When asked about the effect of the concussion, Briere didn’t have a definite answer.
“Nobody really knows exactly if you are affected or not,” Briere said. “I felt OK. I wasn’t playing up to the same standard.”
Either way, Briere said he has been feeling good recently, except when he would look at the score sheet. He felt the last few weeks his game was improving, but he just wasn’t able to finish.
So Saturday’s performance, he admitted was a confidence builder. Even a player as accomplished as Briere needs to see his confidence boosted at times.
“I thought the last three weeks my game was turning around, creating lot of chances and couldn’t get the bounces going my way,” he said.
So no matter what has happened to this point, if Briere enters the postseason with confidence and a regained scoring touch, both he and the Flyers should be feared.
In the playoffs, when scoring is usually more difficult, Briere is averaging more than a point a game as a Flyers and nearly that much his entire career.
During 57 career playoff games for the Flyers, Briere had 29 goals and 30 assists, for 59 points.
In 97 NHL postseason games he has 96 points (42 goals, 54 assists). Those are the numbers of a clutch player, one whose performance on Saturday should provide the Flyers optimism as they move forward.