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Briere recalls 2010 Flyers had 'belief' they could come back from 0-3 deficit

Daniel Briere Philadelphia Flyers Daniel Briere - Getty Images

After dropping a third straight game to Boston in the 2010 NHL playoffs, Daniel Briere remembers his Philadelphia teammates sitting in the locker room wondering how they were suddenly on the verge of elimination.

Despite the 0-3 deficit, the Flyers still felt they were the better team, he said. Philadelphia then went out and proved it, reeling off four straight wins to reach the third round.

"I really think the first step is you've got to have that belief as a team that it's doable," Briere told The Canadian Press. "When you've lost three in a row, very rarely do you feel that you can beat (a) team four games in a row.

"It's a really tough thing to believe in."

The Maple Leafs find themselves in an 0-3 hole entering Wednesday's Game 4 against the Florida Panthers.

Toronto dropped the first two games of the best-of-seven series at Scotiabank Arena before falling in overtime in Game 3 on Sunday at FLA Live Arena. It was the sixth straight victory for the eighth-seeded Panthers, who stunned the top-seeded Bruins in the opening round.

"In Game 4, you can't win four games that night," Briere said from Philadelphia. "You can only win one. You can't get ahead of yourself basically. It's the same thing for Florida too. It goes both ways. Florida can't get ahead of themselves either.

"They're facing a very good Maple Leafs team that has the firepower to come back in the series."

Toronto needed six games to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round for its first playoff series win in 19 years. The Maple Leafs' offence has sputtered since, with just six goals over three games.

Only four teams in NHL history have come back to win after losing the first three games of a series. The Los Angeles Kings were the last to do it in 2014, joining the 2010 Flyers, 1975 New York Islanders and 1942 Maple Leafs.

Briere, now the Flyers' interim general manager, said the 2010 team qualified for the playoffs on the final day of the regular season and usually raised its game when facing elimination.

"We had that confidence that every time everything was on the line, when there was no place for a mistake, we felt we could elevate," he said. "When we got pushed by Boston that series and we were down 3-0, it was like a different team started showing up and it was like that the whole season for us. So we had that belief."

The Flyers went on to reach the Stanley Cup final that year, eventually falling to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.

The return of forward Simon Gagne in the fourth game of the Boston series gave the Flyers a boost. A Game 5 road victory served as a series turning point, Briere said.

"Having a chance to go back in their building and win, now we were pretty confident we would win at home in Game 6 and then anything can happen in Game 7," he said.

If the Panthers-Maple Leafs series is extended, Game 5 would be held in Toronto on Friday night.

If necessary, the Panthers would host Game 6 on Sunday and the Maple Leafs would host Game 7 on May 16.

"The tough part for the Leafs too is they're facing a very good Florida team that is feeling it right now," Briere said. "They're on a rampage. They beat Boston three in a row and now they've beat the Leafs — so two of the top teams in the league — six games in a row.

"They have to be flying high. The confidence can't be much higher for them. That's probably the toughest part they are facing is the confidence that Florida is playing with at the moment."

The Panthers are looking to reach the Eastern Conference final for the first time since 1996.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2023.

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