ATLANTA - Chemistry is a funny thing when it comes to line combinations, according to Daniel Briere.

When it happens, the Flyers center said, there is sometimes no explaining why.

As an example, he cited his experience with Buffalo, where he had been playing on a line with Jochen Hecht and J.P. Dumont before Dumont signed as a free agent with Nashville before last season.

"When Dumont left he was replaced by Jason Pominville,'' Briere said. "The more we played together, the better we got to know each other.

"The weird thing is, it's not really a type of player, it's whoever is going to think like you guys," Briere said. "We replaced Dumont with Pominville. They weren't the same players.

"Dumont is more of a big winger, more of a passer, and Pominville was more of a shooter, and I think it just depends how you think the game, and that's what we're trying to find here."

And so far, Briere - signed by the Flyers this season as a free agent - is still looking.

He's been all over the place. A lot of that had to do with Simon Gagne's prolonged concussion, and some of it has to do with just not being able to find a line that really works well with both Briere and Gagne.

Last night against Atlanta, coach John Stevens put Briere and Gagne together with Scottie Upshall for the second game in a row. The hope is that with Upshall's speed and skill, the three will blend into a line that can score at even strength and pose a consistent threat.

"I thought we played a good game against Anaheim," said Briere, referring to Saturday's 3-0 victory. "We created more chances and spent more time in the [offensive] zone compared to the last few games. That was very encouraging, but there was nothing to show for it again."

And that has been the problem for Briere. While he is a key in the second-ranked power-play unit in the league, he has not been a consistent threat at even strength.

Briere has been frustrated all season by this, and it doesn't help that Stevens moves the lines around a lot. That has been necessitated by injury, but it's also the way Stevens coaches. He makes changes when he feels it's necessary.

What Briere is seeking is the feeling he had last season of playing with set linemates and knowing how they think and play.

Not that that always ensures success, as Briere was quick to point out, referencing Buffalo again.

"Five-on-five was great, but we couldn't score on the power play to save our lives and there was a lot of frustration with that,'' he said. "Here, this year, the power play has been unbelievable with chemistry all over the place and now it's the five-on-five where we're looking for answers.

"But there was some frustration last year too. There are always issues that you're not happy with and there are always going to be issues.

"It's the same thing here. It takes time and it's frustrating. With Gagne on the other side, we're just trying to find that guy it's going to click with.

"I'm being positive, I want it to work with [Upshall]. Hopefully it's the guy we're looking for."

Gagne also is hoping there will be a fit.

"Having that speed on our line is going to help five-on-five," Gagne said. *