Danny Briere had two chances to celebrate his overtime winner.
The first time, his goal didn’t count. The second time, Briere left no doubt and put away Game 1, once and for all.
Briere continued to stamp his name alongside Philadelphia’s postseason greats, scoring the winning goal 4:36 into overtime, leading the Flyers to a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils Sunday in Philadelphia to open this Eastern Conference semifinal series.
“He has his ups and downs, but he just picks it up in the playoffs. And that’s what matters,’’ Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. “He’s a guy who consistently gets it done.’’
Briere’s second attempt at the winner counted minutes after his earlier goal was overturned on review because he kicked the puck into the net. But he wasted no time making up for it, firing a slapper past Martin Brodeur for his seventh goal of the playoffs. Brodeur was screened by Philadelphia forward James van Riemsdyk.
“When you look at the replay, it’s kind of obvious,’’ Briere said of the reversal. “But I needed to stop pouting and get back my focus in overtime. I ended up getting a break.’’
In doing so, Briere, who also scored in the second period, now has 106 points in 104 career postseason games.
“Is it pressure? I think it’s fun,’’ he said of playoff hockey. “When I have the opportunity, like I’ve had the past few years here, I try to take advantage of the opportunities.’’
Claude Giroux’s seventh goal of the playoffs gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead at 4:19 of the third period on a power play.
Petr Sykora tied it, though, when he raced past two defenders off a turnover and slipped the puck between Ilya Bryzgalov’s pads for a soft goal at 11:22. It was his first playoff goal since 2008.
But Briere was the difference in overtime.
“I think,’’ Laviolette said, “everyone expects it from him now.’’
Coyotes 5, Predators 3 - At Glendale, Ariz., Shane Doan, Radim Vrbata, Antoine Vermette, and Martin Hanzal each had a goal and an assist as Phoenix avoided its usual overtime theatrics, beating Nashville to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.
Taylor Pyatt also scored for the Coyotes.
Ryan Suter, Patric Hornqvist, and Andrei Kostitsyn scored for the Predators.
The Coyotes did not go into overtime for only the second time in eight playoff games.
The series shifts to Nashville for Game 3 Wednesday night.
The Blues’ top defenseman, Alex Pietrangelo, was not at practice on Sunday, the morning after getting checked facefirst into the boards by Dwight King in St. Louis’s 3-1 loss at home to the Kings in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series.
Coach Ken Hitchcock, who said Pietrangelo is day to day with an upper-body injury, did not rule him out for Monday night’s Game 2.
Hitchcock wasn’t interested in whether King should have received a five-minute major instead of a two-minute boarding minor, given Pietrangelo’s face was bleeding, and perhaps should be suspended.
“Why don’t we leave that for the league?’’ Hitchcock said. “I’m more worried about Petro and our group.’’