PHILADELPHIA – Danny Briere found running up his points total against the Toronto Maple Leafs a lot easier than trying to explain his success.
Briere scored two goals to reach the 500-point plateau and help the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Maple Leafs 6-2 on Wednesday night.
“I don’t have any explanation,” said Briere, who has 30 points in 29 career games against Toronto. “There’s always a few teams you feel more comfortable, more confident and things seem to be bouncing your way and the puck seems to be finding you.”
Danny Syvret, Dan Carcillo, Mike Richards and James van Riemsdyk also scored, Chris Pronger had three assists, and Jeff Carter added two.
Nikolai Kulemin and Alexei Ponikarovsky scored for Toronto. The Maple Leafs beat Florida 3-2 at home Tuesday night after dropping five of six previous games.
Asked if his team was tired after playing the night before, Toronto coach Ron Wilson said, “I’m sure they’ll say that, but it’s no excuse. We had a few guys who didn’t compete at the level we need.”
The Flyers, beginning the second half of their season, ended a two-game losing streak and a four-game slide at home. They entered the game in 10th place, four points behind Montreal for the final playoff slot.
“We have to try to get as many points as we can, try to win games, and get back in the playoff picture,” Pronger said. “We need to take it to another level.”
The game featured five fights, four of them in the third period when Toronto’s Garnett Exelby and Philadelphia’s Scott Hartnell received 10-minute misconducts.
Michael Leighton, starting his seventh straight game in place of the injured Ray Emery, made 30 saves to improve his record to 7-2-1.
Emery has missed the last 15 games after undergoing abdominal surgery Dec. 9. Leighton was claimed on re-entry waivers from Carolina six days later.
Toronto rookie Jonas Gustavsson stopped 26 shots.
“There’s was nothing he could do on any of those goals,” Wilson explained. “He should sue for non-support.”
Briere put the Flyers ahead at 4:11 of the first period, 13 seconds into a power play, with a one-timer from the side of the net. He scored his 500th point with a slap shot from above the circle at 4:54 of the third period.
“He’s a guy that is really quick, agile, and hard to contain,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. “He’s a great play-maker and a great scorer.”
Syvret made it 2-0 with a slap shot from high in the slot with 50.5 seconds left in the period.
Carcillo made a brilliant move to score at 10:13 of the second period, deftly skating around a defender before going forehand to backhand for the goal.
Richards scored from the left circle on another power play at 1:22 of the third.
Toronto scored twice in a 49-second span in the third period. Kulemin converted a wrist shot at 4:14, and Ponikarovsky deflected Tomas Kaberle’ slap shot at 5:05.
Van Riemsdyk made it 6-2 by redireting Pronger’s shot from the blue line at 7:08. It was the Flyers fourth power-play goal, tying a season high.
NOTES: The Flyers returned home after going 4-1-1 on their longest trip of the season. … The Maple Leafs went into the game leading the NHL with 1,442 total shots and an average of 33.5 shots per game. … Carter scored his 250th career point, assisting on Briere’s goal. … Toronto C John Mitchell played in his 100th NHL game.