|Daniel Briere scored the winning goal against Buffalo in a shootout last night. Watch Danny Briere's winning shootout goal!|
What a homecoming! -- It’s fitting the Oscars were handed out Sunday night, because the return of Daniel Briere to Buffalo less than 24 hours later followed a script that could have come straight out of Hollywood.
Briere’s new team, the Philadelphia Flyers, fell behind by three goals in the first 14:16 of the contest, and it seemed apparent their losing streak was on its way to reaching a club-record 11 straight games.
Then the Flyers scored the next three to tie the game and force overtime. When five minutes of sudden death didn’t produce a winner, it was on to the shootout, and Briere found himself bearing down on former teammate Ryan Miller in the third round with a chance to give his team the victory.
“All I was thinking was, ‘This is perfect. I can’t be in a better position,’” said Briere, who has shouldered much of the burden during the Flyers’ recent slide because of the lucrative eight-year contract he signed over the summer.
If Sabres fans were sore with Briere for bolting, he hardly made amends by stuffing the puck past Miller for a 4-3 Philly victory.
“I think we just got rewarded a little bit tonight for the way things have been going against us lately,” Briere said.
Rewarded not only with a win, but a talented new teammate in Prospal, whose next goal will be his 30th of the season.
“That’s great,” Briere said. “We’ve been struggling lately. It just felt like things are starting to turn. ... We come off the ice and have a player like Vinny Prospal (added) to our team. That’s a lot of good news today.”
A little respect -- Darcy Tucker and Bryan McCabe might not be able to sing like Aretha Franklin (then again, we don’t know everything that goes on in the Toronto dressing room), but they were adamant about demanding some R-E-S-P-E-C-T after the Maple Leafs trounced the Ottawa Senators, 5-0.
“You know what? We really believe that we have a pretty good hockey club,” Tucker said after scoring two goals and assisting on another. “A lot of other people have been putting us down, and we went in a stretch where we didn’t play well, but we got a chance to redeem ourselves and we’re trying to do that.”
Indeed, the Leafs may end up thankful that captain Mats Sundin declined to waive his no-trade clause. With 18 games remaining in the season, they’re only six points out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot, although they still have several teams to climb over.
But Toronto looked hungry against an Ottawa squad that has been scuffling in recent weeks. Coach John Paddock seemed confused after the game about how his Senators could be beaten so badly by a team as far down in the standings as the Leafs, but McCabe was hearing none of that.
“I don’t care how they played,” McCabe said of the Senators. “We’ve got a little something going here and it’s nice to see. How about a little credit for the way we played? We seem to always be top-five in man-games lost (to injury), so that doesn't help us at all. It’s nice to have a healthy team now going forward and this is the real Maple Leafs team.”