Time for Briere to pull it together
The easiest thing to do is kick somebody while they’re down.
In the case of Philadelphia Flyers forward Daniel Briere, it’s been easy to kick him because he has been down for a while.
Currently in the midst of one of the worst scoring droughts in his career, the 34-year old has gone 18 games without registering a goal.
The last time Briere lit the lamp came on January 7 in the Flyers 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators when he put together his strongest offensive performance of the entire season. He scored all three of the Flyers goals, which included a last second game-winner in overtime.
With the exception of that performance, the struggling center man has been held scoreless in every other game in 2012, with his last goal prior to the Ottawa game coming on December 19 against the Colorado Avalanche (coincidentally, another last second goal).
In total, he has scored just four goals in his last 28 games.
At this rate, he is on pace to score 17 goals this season, which would be a career low for any season where he has played at least 65 games.
Obviously, this isn’t what any one expected from the team’s second highest goal scorer from last season.
When the team decided to trade Jeff Carter last offseason, it was largely believed that Briere was going to have to shoulder the majority of the goal scoring responsibilities.
Surprisingly, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.
As of Thursday night, the Flyers currently lead the league in ‘goals for’ with 209 and have ten players with double-digit goal totals.
Realistically, the lack of goal production from Briere hasn’t impacted the team all that much. With so many other players performing above expectations, it’s made Briere’s underachievement an unfortunate situation more so than a serious problem.
However, that may not be the case come playoff time.
As the team shifts over into the second season, the style of play will turn into a more physical, defensive minded game similar to the Flyers’ February 28 game against the San Jose Sharks.
Some of the team’s unexpected goal scorers may not be as successful as opportunities start to dry up, which means Briere is going to have to start producing more consistently.
If history is on his side, then that won’t be a problem.
In 97 career playoff games, Briere has basically been a point per game performer registering 96 points.
In addition, he has scored 19 goals in 34 playoff games over the last two postseasons. If he can carry that impressive clip over to this postseason, there is no doubt that the Flyers will be in good shape to make a run.
In a general sense, Briere has been an invisible man this season.
With a full month left in the regular season, he has plenty of time to get himself back to form.
All one has to do is look back to Scott Hartnell’s struggles in 2009-10 to see that it is possible for a player to put together a strong showing in the playoffs after a less than stellar regular season.
For Briere, a solid performance in March could be a huge first step to another dominating display in the postseason.
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