Briere, Hartnell lead Flyers past Devils

Posted: January 07, 2011

NEWARK, N.J. - The Flyers had to huff and puff, but they finally wore down the sad-sack New Jersey Devils on Thursday night at the Prudential Center.

They overcame two deficits and rallied past the Devils, 4-2, before a sparse but loud crowd.

Danny Briere deposited two goals and snapped a 2-2 tie early in the third period, Scott Hartnell scored two goals, and Ville Leino had a career-high three assists as the Flyers handed New Jersey its ninth loss in its last 10 games.

"They've been so good for so long - and beating up on teams for so long - so it's kind of nice to give it back to them a little bit," said Briere, who had a finger stitched after it was cut by Andy Greene's second-period slash.

The Devils are 1-6 since Jacques Lemaire replaced John MacLean as their head coach.

"I still have a hard time grasping that they're in last place," said goalie Brian Boucher, who made 18 saves and notched the win. "And we certainly don't take them lightly. We had to work for these two points."

In his last 10 starts, Boucher is 8-1-1 with a 2.07 goals-against average.

Five seconds after a Flyers power play expired, Briere took a slick feed from Leino and scored from the low slot, beating Johan Hedberg to the glove side with 17 minutes, 12 seconds left in the game. That gave the Flyers the lead for good at 3-2.

Briere sealed it when his cross attempt to Hartnell deflected off the skate of defenseman Colin White and past Hedberg, putting the Flyers ahead, 4-2, with 8:26 left. It was Briere's 20th goal, tops on the team.

Coach Peter Laviolette broke up Briere's line with Leino and Hartnell for two games during last week's trip out West, but the players have been reunited in the last two contests.

"More than anything, it was just a break. . . . I said back then it would not be long-term," said Laviolette. "When those three guys are skating and working for each other, they're pretty difficult to play against."

Leino, who has an uncanny ability to hang onto the puck with a defender on him, now has 20 assists, second on the team behind Mike Richards' 24.

"He's an unselfish player when he gets moving the puck around, and it's nice to play with a guy like that, [someone] that's always looking to pass," said Hartnell, who scored his first goal of the night after Leino's dump-in bounced off the boards and took a crazy carom away from Hedberg.

The Flyers (25-10-5) won despite managing a season-low 20 shots. The Devils (10-28-2) also had just 20 shots.

The Devils took a 2-1 lead when David Clarkson got behind Sean O'Donnell, went in on Boucher, and lifted a shot just inside the crossbar.

Hartnell tapped in a right-wing pass from Leino with 1:06 left in the second period to tie it.

"Defensively, you're really tight and only give up a couple chances - a redirect and a quick turnover back the other way and they score on two of them," Laviolette said. "To keep coming back, I thought, was a positive sign."

Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at 215-854-5181 or

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