Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Thanks to two goals from Danny Briere, the Philadelphia Flyers clinched a playoff spot with a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
For the 16th time in the past 17 seasons, the Flyers will be participating in the postseason as the team has 96 points and sits in the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, two behind Pittsburgh for fourth and five behind the Rangers for first in the Atlantic Division and first overall in the Eastern Conference.
Kimmo Timonen scored the other goal while Ilya Bryzgalov posted 23 saves and added an assist for the Flyers, who have won five of their last seven games.
“Obviously it helps confidence wise because I was in a bit of a drought there,” said Briere. “The last three weeks I felt my game was turning around and tonight felt real good.”
Tomas Plekanec scored the lone goal while Peter Budaj gave up all four goals on 33 shots for the Canadiens, who have dropped four of five and sit in last place in the Eastern Conference.
“I think we stopped looking at the standings and just try to prepare for every game,” said Budaj. “We have a lot of pride for the sweater, for the team and for the organization.”
Skating on the power play, the Flyers took a 1-0 lead with 8:53 to play in the first. Claude Giroux won a left circle faceoff back to Timonen, who skated over to the high slot before blasting a shot through the screen.
The Canadiens, though, tied the game 3:44 into the second when Plekanec skated in on a breakaway and faked to the backhand before tucking it in around the left pad of Bryzgalov.
The Philly power play, which went 3-for-5 in the game, went back to work Alexei Emelin was called for interference. In the high slot, Matt Carle let loose with a wrist shot that Briere redirected down low at the 7:57 mark.
Bryzgalov helped with the next goal as he sent a long pass out to the Montreal blue line at the right side for Jaromir Jagr, who then dished it over to a skating Briere. From there, Briere took it down low and roofed it to the short side for his 16th of the season with 2:22 to play in the second.
The Flyers sealed the win with 1:53 to play in the third after Read one-timed home a Sean Couturier pass at the left side for his 21st goal of the season.
Bryzgalov now has two assists on the season and seven in his career…The only time the Flyers have not made the playoffs over the past 17 seasons was the 2006-07 campaign when they finished dead last in the NHL…The Flyers host the Lightning on Monday…Montreal hosts Florida on Tuesday…The Flyers took three of four from the Canadiens this season.