TORONTO - Danny Briere last night started showing what he means to the Flyers when he is healthy.
Briere, who missed most of last season with groin and abdominal injuries, scored two second-period goals, but the Flyers self-destructed late in the preseason game as they fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-4, in a chippy overtime affair at the Air Canada Centre.
Niklas Hagman (two goals) scored from the high slot after 1 minute, 23 seconds of OT, firing a shot through Brian Boucher's legs to give Toronto the win and overshadow Briere's strong performance.
"The more I'm playing, the more comfortable I'm going to get," said Briere, who managed 11 goals in 29 games last season after a 31-goal performance in 2007-08.
"He was the best player on the ice tonight," coach John Stevens said.
The Flyers, 0-2-1 in the preseason, showed the same lack of discipline that was their undoing last season; they committed 20 penalties for 60 minutes, including late minors to Mike Richards (delay of game) and Braydon Coburn (holding), setting up Francois Beauchemin's tying goal on a five-on-three with 3:50 left in regulation.
"The loss is disappointing, but, hopefully, it's a good learning lesson for us," Briere said. "We have to be careful with the penalties, myself included."
Briere, off a slick feed from Mark Bell, scored on a breakaway to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead midway through the second period. About eight minutes later, he pounced on a loose puck and scored on a wraparound, surprising goalie Vesa Toskala to make it 4-2.
Richards had a power-play goal (it deflected off Toronto's Mike Komisarek) and an assist, and Chris Pronger (power play) netted his first goal with his new team.
Boucher allowed three late goals in relief of Ray Emery, who surrendered two goals on 12 shots.
Fight night, Part II. There were four fights last night, including Dan Carcillo's pounding of Lee Stempniak, and Komisarek's one-sided decision over Darroll Powe. The teams were involved in eight fights in their two meetings this week - and combined for 36 penalties that totaled 104 minutes last night.
Price hike. Last February, the Flyers announced that, because of the struggling economy, there would be no ticket-price hikes for the 2009-10 season.
But it turns out the organization has increased prices on a little less than 1,000 tickets for 12 games.
"Due to demand, we've rescaled a portion of tickets," said Shawn Tilger, the club's senior vice president for business operations.
A dozen games are affected, including the home opener against Washington on Oct. 6, and the Black Friday game against Buffalo on Nov. 27. In those games, some of the $96 tickets will cost $130, and some of the $46 tickets will increase to $56.
Tilger noted that tickets in the family section ($20 for adults, $10 for children) are not affected. Nor are the all-you-can-eat tickets that sell for $35 and include food and drinks.
Tilger said that when the Flyers made the announcement about not raising prices, it was directed toward season tickets.
Matthew Schwarz, a teacher from Marlton, said he started to purchase tickets online recently but refused to buy them when he realized they were $130 - $34 more than he expected to pay.
"If the Flyers keep this up, all the corporate fans will sit downstairs and the real fans will be upstairs," Schwarz said. "It's going to turn into Toronto, where all the fans downstairs are on BlackBerrys and not making any noise."
The Flyers are in the middle of the NHL pack in average prices charged for tickets, Tilger said.
Breakaways. Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, expected to be the Flyers' seventh defenseman this season, lost at least one tooth when hit by a puck during the morning skate. He had been slated to play last night but was replaced by Oskars Bartulis. . . . Arron Asham missed the game with a minor upper-body injury. . . . Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne, Ryan Parent and Kimmo Timonen were among the Flyers' scratches.