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Flyers to put Briere, Gagne on line vs. Devils

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- In an effort to generate some spark into the lineup, Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette will reunite Danny Briere with Simon Gagne on a line with Sean Couturier when his team plays the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday at Prudential Center.

The Flyers sit last in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference.

Couturier was centering Briere and Gagne during practice Tuesday at the Flyers SkateZone in Voorhees, N.J. Laviolette confirmed Wednesday after his team's morning skate that those three players would join forces in an attempt to "maybe try and find something offensively or try a different look."

Laviolette is hoping the line change will re-energize a few players struggling to find the back of the net. Couturier has not scored in 19 games and Briere is without a goal in 10. Matt Read likely will replace Briere on the second line alongside Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds. Schenn hasn't scored in seven straight matches.

"I haven't skated on the same line with Danny since [we reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2010]," Gagne said. "We go way back. I still remember talking to him the summer we signed him [in 2007] and discussing about possibly playing on the same line. We did that a couple of times that year with Flyers. It'll bring back good memories and we both know each other as players so hopefully it'll help the team."

Briere is looking forward to the opportunity to skate with Gagne, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 26.

"It'll be our first game playing together and that's exciting," Briere said. "It's good to have him back. He knows the team, the trainers and management. It was a good move by [Flyers general manager] Paul Holmgren to bring him back."

The Flyers are playing the first of an all-important home-and-home set against the Devils. The teams will meet again Friday at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

"The focus is on [Wednesday] right now," Briere told "We haven't played well in [Prudential Center] lately and that's the focus. Guys know we should be in a better place, but we're not. We still believe in ourselves and that's probably the reason why guys are upbeat and still believe in our chances."

Laviolette will give Ilya Bryzgalov his 26th start in 28 games. In eight career appearances against New Jersey, Bryzgalov is 4-3-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and two shutouts.

Here is how the Flyers might line up against the Devils on Wednesday:

Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Matt Read - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds

Danny Briere - Sean Couturier - Simon Gagne

Ruslan Fedotenko - Max Talbot - Zac Rinaldo

Kimmo Timonen - Luke Schenn

Nicklas Grossman - Braydon Coburn

Bruno Gervais - Andrej Meszaros

Ilya Bryzgalov

Michael Leighton

Injured: Kurtis Foster, Tye McGinn


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