CALGARY - Daniel Briere scored twice, including the game winner, to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames in the season opener for both clubs Thursday.
Briere was one of the biggest fish in the free-agent pond in the off-season. The Flyers reeled him in, signing him to a US$52-million, five-year contract.
The former Buffalo Sabres' captain made his presence felt immediately by scoring the first goal of the game and the season for the Flyers, and added the winner on a breakaway at 18:12 of the third period.
Mike Knuble had a goal and an assist for Philadelphia. Goaltender Martin Biron picked up the win, stopping 24 of 26 shots.
Calgary's Daymond Langkow scored power-play goals in the second and third periods to erase Philadelphia's early 2-0 lead.
Simon Gagne caged a clearing attempt by Calgary defenceman Anders Eriksson and connected with a streaking Gagne, who went upstairs on Miikka Kiprusoff for the winner.
Kiprusoff made 23 saves on 26 shots.
The Flyers finished dead last in the NHL last season with their worst record in franchise history at 22-48-12.
But the overhaul began even before last season ended. Only nine players on Philadelphia's season-opening roster Thursday started last season with the Flyers.
Thursday's game was the only meeting between the two clubs this season and the first since Dec. 16, 2003.
Langkow's second power-play goal of the night at 12:46 of the third period tied it 2-2. He beat Biron stick-side on a cross-ice feed from Alex Tanguay.
Calgary halved the deficit in the second period with Langkow scoring the Flames' first goal of the season. He got his stick on Dion Phaneuf's blast from the blue-line to redirect it for a power-play goal at 6:30.
Philadelphia led 2-0 after the opening period on goals from Knuble and Briere.
With Flames forward Wayne Primeau and defenceman Adrian Aucoin in the penalty box for hooking and slashing respectively, the Flyers converted a two-man advantage into their second goal of the game.
From behind the goal-line to Kiprusoff's left, Gagne fed Knuble in the slot and he one-timed it home at the eight-minute mark.
Briere didn't take long to score his first goal in a Flyers uniform. He worked the puck out from behind the net and banged his own rebound under Kiprusoff at 3:12.
Notes - Dean McAmmond scored the OT goal for Calgary in the previous meeting between these two clubs. ... The only current players remaining on each roster from that game were Jarome Iginla, Craig Conroy, Stephane Yelle and Robyn Regehr for the Flames and Gagne for the Flyers. ... The only time the two clubs had met in a season-opener prior to Thursday was in 1979-80, the Flames' last year in Atlanta. The Flames won 9-2.