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NHL roundup: Briere nets winner, Flyers edge Devils

By Dan Gelston

Associated Press

Published: Monday, April 30 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Philadelphia center Danny Briere scored two goals, including the game-winner in OT against New Jersey on Sunday.

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Danny Briere scored the winning goal 4:36 into overtime to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Sunday to open the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Briere had his second chance at the winner count minutes after his earlier attempt was overturned on review because he kicked it into the net. He also scored in the second period.

He wasted no time making it up for the OT missed opportunity. He fired a slapper past Martin Brodeur for his seventh goal of the playoffs. Brodeur was screened in front by Philadelphia forward James van Riemsdyk.

Game 2 is Tuesday.

The Flyers took the series lead in their first game in a week after eliminating Pittsburgh in six games. The Devils played their third straight overtime game after defeating Florida in Games 6 and 7 to win the first-round series.

The Flyers put a slow start well behind them in the third and completely set the pace of the period. They used a tremendous forecheck to stave off the Devils and played with more life in their skates than a weary Devils team that had only a three-day break since their clincher.

"I thought we played real well in the first," New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer said. "We just couldn't keep it up."

The Flyers held the biggest edge, of course.

They had Claude Giroux.

Giroux wound from the circle and fired the puck high over Brodeur's right shoulder for the power-play goal and the 3-2 lead. Giroux scored his seventh goal already of the postseason, living up to coach Peter Laviolette's bold claim as, "the best in the world."

Petr Sykora wiped out the lead, though, when he raced past two defenders off a turnover and slipped the puck through Ilya Bryzgalov's pads for a soft goal to make it 3-3. It was his first playoff goal since 2008.

But Briere was the difference in overtime.

COYOTES 5, PREDATORS 3: At Glendale, Ariz., Shane Doan, Radim Vrbata and Antoine Vermette each had a goal and an assist, and the Phoenix Coyotes avoided their usual overtime theatrics, beating the Nashville Predators on Sunday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.

Martin Hanzal and Taylor Pyatt also scored for the Coyotes. Ryan Suter, Patric Hornqvist and Andrei Kostitsyn scored for the Predators.

Phoenix scored three times on 19 second-period shots. The Coyotes built a two-goal lead early in the second period. Nashville twice cut it to one only to see Phoenix quickly respond.

The Coyotes did not go into overtime for only the second time in eight playoff games.

The best-of-seven series shifts to Nashville for Game 3 on Wednesday night.

Ray Whitney, who scored the game winner in Phoenix's 4-3 overtime win in Game 1 on Friday night, had two assists, as did Keith Yandle.

After being outshot 42-24 in Game 1, the Coyotes had a playoff-high 39 shots to Nashville's 33 in Game 2.

With its offensive production, Phoenix didn't need to lean on goalie Mike Smith's heroics quite so much. Smith had 30 saves to 34 for Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.

The Coyotes, in the second round of the playoffs for the first time since the franchise moved from Winnipeg in 1996, built a 3-1 lead with goals by Hanzal and Vrbata early in the second period.

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