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Briere: 'We could easily be up 3-1'

It sounds like sour grapes when Danny Briere says the Flyers could have a three-games-to-one lead in their best-of-seven series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but it happens to be true.

It's also true that Marty Biron has given a strong account of himself in the series, but that the Penguins' Marc-Andre Fleury has been the better goalie.

And that, in a nutshell, is why the Flyers are staring at a three-games-to-one deficit after Tuesday's closer-than-it-looks 3-1 loss to the Penguins at the Wachovia Center.

The Flyers outshot the Penguins, 46-26 and had twice as many hits (24-12) as Pittsburgh.

But Fleury was sensational, stopping one-timers, deflections, rebounds and almost every shot fired his way.

"If you're going to have success in the playoffs, you need performances like that from your goaltender," said Penguins interim (but not for long) coach Dan Bylsma, whose team iced the win with an empty-net goal with 52 seconds left. "He certainly gave a memorable one tonight."

Fleury also was the difference in Game 2, a 3-2 overtime win by the Pens. In that contest, he made a superb stop on Jeff Carter with about 8:30 left to keep Pittsburgh within 2-1. If Carter scores there, the Flyers almost assuredly win.

Tonight's loss may have been Biron's final home game with the Flyers. He can become a free agent and the Flyers will probably try to re-sign him, but there are no guarantees. Florida's Craig Anderson, another potential free agent, interests the Flyers.

But I'm getting too far ahead. Game 5 is Thursday in Pittsburgh and the Flyers are certainly capable of bringing the series back to Philadelphia. Three of the Flyers' last five games in Pittsburgh have gone into overtime.

Theses teams are very evenly matched. They each had 99 points and each scored 264 goals duirng the regular season _ and were one apart in goals allowed (239-238).

But in these playoffs, the difference has been goaltending.

The Flyers are 0-13 in series in which they have faced a three-games-to-one deficit.

"It's going to be a tough test, but to be successful, some times you have to overcome some challenges,"  Briere said. "This is a tough one, but we're not quitters. We have to keep working hard. We could easily be up 3-1, but we're not. It is what it is and we have to keep showing the same urgency we showed in the last couple games."

Even if they do, it still may not be enough. Not with the way Fleury is playing.

NOTES.  The Flyers were 0 for 8 on the power play, failing to score during the 12:47 in which they had an extra skater. The Penguins were 0 for 5 on the power play and had an extra skater for 6:55.....Over the last two periods, the Flyers outshot the Penguins, 34-13....The Pens' first goal deflected off Sidney Crosby's body as he slid into the net. Flyers coach John Stevens thought it should have been goalie interference.