Briere ends drought as Flyers edge Islanders

Flyers center Danny Briere gets a congratulatory pat from Simon Gagne after scoring.
Flyers center Danny Briere gets a congratulatory pat from Simon Gagne after scoring. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer)
Posted: April 27, 2013

If veteran Danny Briere played his last home game in a Flyers uniform Thursday night, he made a theatrical exit, scoring his first goal in 20 games in his team's 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders.

At the same time, rookie defenseman Oliver Lauridsen was, in a sense, making an entrance to the 2013-14 season.

There are no guarantees, of course, but the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Lauridsen has opened eyes with his physical play, and it could lead to a roster spot when next year rolls around.

In addition to delivering four hits and blocking four shots, Lauridsen scored on a blast from above the left circle with 6 minutes, 31 seconds remaining to snap a 1-1 tie and give the Flyers their fifth win in the last six games.

Yes, too late for a playoff run, but Lauridsen and the rest of the young defense have contributed mightily during the late-season surge.

Lauridsen, a Denmark native who scored his first career goal Tuesday thanks to a goalie's gaffe, played in his 14th NHL game Thursday, and he says his confidence has grown since he was promoted from the Phantoms on March 30.

Coach Peter Laviolette likes what he has seen.

"When you come up and make an impact with the big club, you start to talk about that person and start to look forward to the future with that person," Laviolette said. "Somebody who brings his size and his presence onto the ice, I think is a positive. He's a towering man, he plays with a physical edge, and he's kept the game simple up here.

"And it seemed like he got every pound of his body into that shot tonight."

The Flyers (22-22-3), who conclude their season in Ottawa on Saturday, finished with a 15-7-2 home record. That didn't cause them to miss the playoffs for just the second time in the last 18 seasons. A 7-15-1 road record did.

Briere, 35, has been plagued by injuries the last two seasons, reducing his effectiveness. With the Flyers needing cap space, it is expected that his contract (a $6.5 million cap hit) will be bought out or he will be traded after the season.

Brayden Schenn crossed a pass through a defender's legs and Briere knocked it into the net from close range to put the Flyers ahead, 1-0, with 8:19 left in the first period.

Briere is finishing his sixth season with the Flyers; the Wells Fargo Center, he said, is special to him.

"It's my home," he said. "One of the best places to play. Ask anyone in the NHL. The fans have been amazing."

After the win, the Flyers gathered at center ice and lifted their sticks in a salute to the fans, who gave the team its 106th consecutive sellout since 2010.

Breakaways

Ilya Bryzgalov made 21 saves to notch the win. . . . Flyers defenseman Matt Konan, in his NHL debut, played 13-plus minutes and accounted himself well. . . . In the 2013 IIHF World Championships, Team Canada has commitments from four Flyers, according to TSN: Claude Giroux, Matt Read, Wayne Simmonds, and Luke Schenn. . . . Luke Schenn had six hits Thursday.


Contact Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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