Throughout the season NHL.com will be doing a weekly series called "Five Questions With …," a Q&A with some of the key figures in the game aimed at gaining insight into their lives and careers.
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- It was almost as if you could see the relief on Danny Briere's face.
Not only did the Philadelphia Flyers put together arguably their most complete performance of the season in a 7-0 win against the New York Islanders on Monday at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, but Briere contributed with two goals and an assist.
Winning games and scoring goals has been a struggle for Briere and the Flyers this season, but it all came so easily on Long Island less than 48 hours after Flyers captain Claude Giroux called out his team following a 4-1 loss at the Montreal Canadiens.
The challenge for Briere and the Flyers now is to bottle up what worked so well Monday and take it with them to Pittsburgh, where they will play the Penguins at Consol Energy Center in the next edition of Wednesday Night Rivalry presented by Coors Light (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2, RDS).
Briere spoke to NHL.com following the game Monday about Giroux's comments, the Flyers' struggles so far this season, and why the win over the Islanders could signal a turning point for them.
Claude Giroux talked critically about the compete level of the entire team after the loss in Montreal on Saturday. Did he have to say something?
"No. No. I think Claude is very emotional and Claude is all in all the time. Everybody knows it's been a little rough for him, the puck isn't going in, but one thing you can't fault with him is his effort every single night. He had total rights to do what he did because for him to be successful he needs all of us to play as hard as we can, to open up some lanes for him, to make room for him out there."
You see yourselves now, 7-9-1 after 17 games. Are you surprised by this, that you're not even a .500 team more than a third of the way through the season?
"There's no doubt that from the beginning of the season I thought we had a team that would contend. Yeah, I'm a little surprised to be where we are, to be honest. But, you know, there's nothing we can do. We got sloppy a little bit getting out of the gate. We can't change that anymore. We can dwell on that and feel sorry for ourselves, but nobody else will.
"It's kind of what Peter [Laviolette] was telling us [Monday] before the game -- when things get tough you appreciate it even more if you get back to work and find a way out. That's the only thing we can look at now, finding a way to get out of it, because we know we have the team that can do that."
You've had your own personal scoring struggles this season that have coincided with the team's struggles, but you got two goals [Monday] and the team got a 7-0 win. From your history, is this the type of game, the type of win that can help you personally and the team as a whole start to move in a positive direction?
"There's no doubt, but we have to understand that we're not always going to win by five, six or seven goals. Games are going to get hard and we have to find a way to keep fighting through those games, all the way through. But there's no doubt that if we use this in the right, positive manner that yeah, it is a game you can build a lot of confidence from.
"Personally, there's no doubt getting one goal in the last game and two more [Monday], you get back on the ice and you don't feel pressure to rush your plays. You have a little bit more patience with the puck. We all know, offensive guys, that's what we need to be successful. If you rush plays you just become like most of the other players, and that's something I need to find again, to get back to."
Why has it been a struggle for you guys to fight through tough games for a full 60 minutes?
"First of all we're a young team, but in saying that sometimes you forget that when the games are tough you've gotta raise your level of play, you've gotta find that other level. That's what we're learning right now as a team. [Monday], after the first period -- it was a hard-fought first period and the Islanders played hard. It would have been easy to just put the brakes on, try to preserve that [1-0] lead, but we came out swinging again and we went all out and never stopped. Hopefully we'll have that attitude more often moving forward."
Clearly, you're going to need that attitude Wednesday in Pittsburgh. Do you get confidence knowing that you can have that type of attitude in a rivalry game like that after playing the way you played Monday?
"After a game like this? Definitely. The one thing I'm not worried about for the game on Wednesday is if the guys are going to get up for the game. I think everybody will be ready. Everybody will be fired up for it because, I mean, we know, it's the rivalry and that's the way it is. But now as the game progresses and it gets tough in the game, that's when we have to keep that same attitude moving forward. Instead of backing down and playing it safe, we need to want it there."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl
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