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Briere, van Riemsdyk pace Flyers 5-1 over Panthers @NHLdotcom
PHILADELPHIA -- Danny Briere scored a pair of goals and Ray Emery stopped 17 of 18 shots Saturday as the Philadelphia Flyers won their second straight game, 5-1, against the visiting Florida Panthers.
Rookie forward James van Riemsdyk had his first NHL goal, Arron Asham scored a goal for the third straight game and Simon Gagne had his first goal of the season for the Flyers.
David Booth scored the Panthers' lone goal, but didn't finish the game after suffering a scary injury late in the second period.
Booth was taken off the ice on a stretcher, with his head and neck immobilized, after taking a devastating shoulder check to the head from Philadelphia captain Mike Richards in the Flyers end with 2:55 left in the period. Booth was carrying the puck across the Flyers blue line when a backchecking Richards drilled Booth in the head with his shoulder. Booth flipped over backwards and landed awkwardly on his head and neck. He appeared to lose consciousness either on the hit or when he landed on the ice. He also suffered a cut above his eye.
The game was delayed for about 10 minutes while Booth was tended to by doctors. Booth spent the night at an area hospital, but Panthers General Manager Randy Sexton said Booth was conscious and had feeling and movement in his extremities.
"I had a quick chat with the doctor, and they're doing a whole host of tests just to be sure that everything is OK," Sexton said. "It's too early to tell exactly the extent of the injury until they finish all their tests."
Richards said there was no intent for injury on the play.
"I was just trying to backcheck through the middle like we're supposed to do and put pressure from behind," he said. "I saw him cutting with the puck through the middle. He dished it off; I just tried to separate him from the puck, tried to go shoulder on shoulder. It happened too quickly."
Sexton called the hit dirty and said it warranted a suspension.
"I do believe the League will act appropriately," Sexton said. "There's been a lot of discussion about taking out those type of hits, especially to the head. I have full confidence that after the League has a chance to review it they'll take appropriate action."
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren disagreed, saying he saw no need for his team's captain to receive any extra punishment other than the five-minute major for interference and game misconduct levied by game officials.
"It was a good hit," Holmgren said. "Mike's doing his job, he's backtracking. He went to finish his check on a player. His feet never left the ice. I feel bad for Booth, hopefully he's going to be all right. But there was nothing dirty about that hit."
The game slowed for a bit after the nasty collision, but when play resumed, the Flyers continued to dominate. They outshot the Panthers 38-18 for the game, including 28-7 over the final two periods. In fact, the Panthers didn't get their first shot of the second period until there was 5:49 remaining.
"It was a wide-open first period," Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said. "I thought we skated with them and traded chances with them and held our own. I think as the game wore on, I don't know if it was the hit or the second (game) of back-to-back, they started to skate and took over the momentum."
Briere gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead thanks to some great play by van Riemsdyk. Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun stopped van Riemsdyk's shot from in close, but van Riemsdyk circled behind the net and intercepted Bryan McCabe's pass. He passed in front to a wide-open Briere, who scored his fourth of the season at 5:23.
"James van Riemsdyk played a strong game tonight," Briere said. "With the way he takes the puck to the net, the way (linemate) Jeff Carter always puts pucks on net, I figured I might just hang around the crease and I found a couple loose pucks right there in the crease. … That pass that James made backdoor on the first goal, you can't teach that. You have it or you don't. It was good to see."
Briere returned the favor on the game's final goal, springing the forward for a breakaway. Van Riemsdyk deked and slid the puck between Vokoun's legs with 2:59 remaining in the game.

"When I got that breakaway I had one thing going through my mind, and that was to try my go-to move there," van Riemsdyk said. "It's worked for me a bunch of times in the past. I've been a little snakebitten on it recently, but I figured I had some time so I figured I would try something that would work."
After Briere gave the Flyers the lead, the Panthers tied it when a Dennis Seidenberg shot from the left faceoff circle deflected off Booth and between Emery's pads to make it 1-1 with 5:01 remaining in the first period.
Philadelphia re-took the lead when Asham made a nice play off a Richards pass and beat Vokoun 4:47 into the second period. Richards chipped a pass that Asham played with his skates, kicked to his stick blade and shot high. It's the first time in his NHL career Asham has scored in three straight games. His last two-game goal streak came April 3-5, 2007, when he was with the New York Islanders.
Gagne scored off the rebound of a Richards shot for a power-play goal at 16:02 of the second to make it 3-1. Vokoun stopped Richards' blast from the right circle, but Gagne got the rebound on the goal line and scored from a sharp angle just under the crossbar.
"It's good to get this one tonight," said Gagne, a two-time 40-goal scorer. "Sometimes it's the hardest one to get. Been like that for 10 years, the first one is the hardest one to get. Hopefully now those ones are going to keep going in."
Briere made it 4-1 when he converted on a Scott Hartnell pass 5:03 into the third period.
"I liked the way we played tonight," Gagne said. "I thought that it was one of our best games this year for 60 minutes. We saw a lot of great things this season for sometimes 20 minutes or 40 minutes, but not consistent like tonight. Overall our game was pretty good and it was good to see that from us tonight."
-- Adam Kimelman,

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