Daniel Briere's memories of the historic Game 7 between the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins in the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals include him being almost in tears on the bench, losing it on the ice, being furious in the dressing room and ultimately feeling invincible as the game wore on.
Briere's memories of that game, vivid as they are, came pouring back Tuesday when he discussed the finest moments of his six years with the Flyers at the end of his retirement press conference at Virtua Flyers Skate Zone.
"Within that two-month bubble that we were in [in 2010], I think the comeback against Boston was probably the ultimate peak of that two-month stretch," Briere said. "What we did is unbelievable."
He's talking about the Flyers winning the series against the Bruins in seven games after losing the first three. They became the third team in Stanley Cup Playoff history and the first in 35 years to pull off such a comeback in a seven-game series, but the Flyers also did it after falling into a 3-0 hole in the first period of Game 7.
That's when Briere remembers his emotions getting the best of him.
"I still remember sitting on the bench almost crying because we had put all this time, all this effort to come back all the way to Game 7, and we start the game and we give them a three-goal lead within seven or eight minutes," Briere said.
Briere also remembers losing his cool on the ice. He took a high-sticking penalty after the Bruins took a 1-0 lead. It led to a power-play goal for Milan Lucic, the first of two in a row for him.
"I was furious, I was losing it," Briere said. "I took a stupid penalty. It was a bad decision on my part. I was seeing black. I couldn't control myself. I was yelling at the referee, who was Stephen Walkom, all the way up the penalty box. He was totally right, there's nothing he could do. It was a flagrant penalty. But I was yelling at him, I couldn't control myself."
What happened next might have helped save the Flyers.
"I sat down in the penalty box and the next whistle he [Walkom] came back over and was like, 'Calm down. The game is far from over. Just calm down, you don't want to put your team short another man,'" Briere said. "I kind of recomposed myself, and we got the lucky goal by James [van Riemsdyk] at the end of the first period."
Briere said he remembers nobody saying a word in the Flyers' dressing room during the first intermission.
"We were all furious as a team," he said. "Everybody had this glare. It was like, 'What did we do?'"
Looking back it now, though, Briere said the Flyers never realized what the Bruins might have been thinking in the home dressing room at TD Garden.
"They were up 3-0 in the series and it's back to 3-3," he said. "They were up 3-0 in the game, and now they sensed it. They knew we were coming. It was 3-1, and when we scored to make it 3-2, it was pretty much the end."
The invincible feeling kicked in when Scott Hartnell scored for the Flyers to make it 3-2 at 2:49 of the second period. Briere tied the game 5:50 later.
"One of the biggest goals of my career was definitely when I tied it up in Game 7 against the Bruins," he said. "You hear a lot of athletes say they were 'in the zone.' That moment, I was in the zone. There was nothing to stop me, to stop us. We just knew it was game over."
Simon Gagne's power-play goal at 12:52 of the third period capped the comeback and gave the Flyers the historic win.
"When we made it 3-2 we could tell," Briere said. "They were afraid to handle the puck, and we were coming on too strong."