Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) – Danny Briere posted a goal and three assists as the Philadelphia Flyers rallied to down Buffalo, 5-2, at HSBC Arena.
“It didn’t have much to do with that. It was just one of those nights where I was getting the bounces and a good effort from my linemates as well,” Briere said when asked if his performance came as a result of being left off the roster for the All-Star Game.
Briere leads the Flyers with 22 goals but fellow forward Claude Giroux got the nod for the January 30 contest in Raleigh.
Scott Hartnell added two goals and a helper for the Flyers, who won their fourth straight game and extended their lead atop the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference over idle Pittsburgh to three points (59-56).
Sergei Bobrovsky shook off a shaky first period and tied a career high with 38 saves for the win.
Paul Gaustad and Cody McCormick tallied in the opening 20 minutes for the Sabres, who had won four of their last five coming in.
Ryan Miller was tagged in the loss for four goals on 32 shots.
Ville Leino’s tally at 2:17 of the third period put the Flyers ahead, as he went to the front of the net to follow up Briere’s shot and saw the puck carom off his skate and in. A brief review upheld the call on the ice.
On the following shift, James van Riemsdyk had his wraparound chance bounce off the crossbar and was swept away by Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers.
Mike Richards did eventually give Philadelphia a 4-2 edge at 11:36, when he stepped in front of a Sabres defenseman at the right point, settled a bouncing puck, broke in alone and beat Miller on the backhand.
Miller was summoned to the bench for an extra skater with more than two minutes left, and Hartnell hit the empty net at 18:05.
“I was really happy to see us respond in the third period to win the hockey game,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “The first one was sleepy and the bounces were going against us, but I thought we corrected that.”
Buffalo hit the scoreboard five minutes into the contest as Gaustad managed to slip a third-chance rebound under a sliding Bobrovsky. Myers unleashed the original chance from the right circle, and McCormick followed up before the goal.
McCormick made it 2-0 one second shy of the midway point of the first period, when his backhand flip of a loose puck from the goal line banked off the Flyers goaltender and in.
Philly responded at 12:41 on the power play when Kimmo Timonen cranked a shot from the left point and Hartnell tipped it home while providing a screen in front.
The visitors knotted the game with 1:49 to play in the second, as Briere was able to take in a deflected pass by Timonen and roof it from the left post.
“They’re dangerous when they get open,” Miller said of the opposition. “In the third period we failed to get the puck deep, we gave away a few and they were sniffing for some offense, always facing up ice and that’s how they got their successful rushes.”
Philadelphia has won seven of 10 over Buffalo since the start of the 2008-09 season…The Flyers have also won five of their last six in western New York…Bobrovsky also stopped 38 shots in a 5-3 win at Montreal on December 15…Buffalo hasn’t beaten the Flyers in regulation at home since December 21, 2007…Briere recorded the fifth four-point game of his career and his fourth with the Flyers. His last was November 23, 2009 at Colorado…Hartnell’s three-point game was a season high and his first since November 2, 2009 against Tampa Bay.