Sunday, February 7, 2016

Slumping Briere expects 'good things to happen'

Up. Down.

Slumping Briere expects 'good things to happen'

Danny Briere is in the middle of a 17-game goal-less streak. (Matt Slocum/AP)
Danny Briere is in the middle of a 17-game goal-less streak. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Up. Down.

That’s the shortened version of how things have gone for Flyers veteran center Danny Briere in the last year.

Up: Last season, he established a personal-best with 34 goals.

Down: Briere has just 13 goals this season, and he is in the midst of the longest goal-less streak of his impressive 14-year NHL career: 17 games.

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“I only know one way to get out of a slump - it’s to keep working and keep plugging away,” said Briere, who will face the visiting New York Islanders on Thursday if he has no ill effects from the cheap shot he received in San Jose on Tuesday “That’s the only thing I can do and, at some point, I expect good things to happen.”.

Up: Briere registered his fifth career hat trick, highlighting the Flyers’ 7-2 win in Ottawa on Jan. 7.

Down: Since then, Briere is goal-less, has overcome a concussion that sidelined him for six games and has watched his sputtering team slip into sixth place in the East.

On Tuesday, Briere took a positive step - aside from slamming his head into the boards after a hit by San Jose’s Marc-Edouard Vlasic late in the game - as he created numerous scoring chances and had his best game in weeks. He began the game on the fourth line and ended it on the top unit.

Briere, 34, will try to build off that strong performance when the Flyers host the Islanders, who have won both of their games at the Wells Fargo Center this season. The Flyers have managed one goal, total, in those two games.

* * *

Surprisingly, Vlasic received no discipline from the NHL for his hit on Briere. Turns out Brendan Shanahan, the league’s discipline czar, is just as inconsistent as predecessor Colin Campbell, when handing out fines and suspensions.

BTW, Vlasic’s only career fight was against Briere, and the players have a history of not being the best of buds.

* * *

New pairs. Coach Peter Laviolette scrambled the D pairings in the 1-0 loss to San Jose, going with Braydon Coburn and Matt Carle, Kimmo Timonen and Pavel Kubina, and Nick Grossman and Andrej Meszaros. The Timonen-Kubina pairing isn’t the fastest, so Laviolette may not be done tinkering.

* * *

Just say 'Bryz.' Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, coming off a terrific performance against the Sharks, will get his seventh straight start on Thursday.

* * *

Smooth sailing? The schedule eases for the Flyers the rest of the way. Their final 20 regular-season games are all played in the Eastern time zone.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.

Staff Writer
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