Every night, it's the same. As the Flyers finish their pregame warm-ups and begin leaving the ice, Danny Briere takes a little pile of pucks over to the left face-off circle. One after the other, he drives them as hard as he can into the far side of the net.
Then Briere skates over and stands in front of the crease. He pulls pucks from the net, then flips them back in, going top-shelf every time.
Finally, the boyish Briere skates straight to center ice, circles the red dot in the middle, then turns toward the tunnel to the locker room. Silent sentinel Arron Asham, always the last player off the ice, fist-bumps Briere and then follows him up to the locker room.
Every night, it's the same.
"I make Arron wait a few extra seconds every time," Briere said Thursday, "but I don't think he minds. It is a superstition, I guess, but it's also preparation. I end up in those areas quite a bit during the game, too. It's definitely a ritual."
In Game 3 Wednesday night, Briere was in front of the net, almost exactly where he stands during his pregame routine. Linemate Scott Hartnell got the puck onto Briere's stick, and with that same practiced flick, Briere lifted the puck into the Chicago net for the Flyers' first goal.
It was just the beginning for the Redemption Line. Hartnell scored the Flyers' second goal. Winger Ville Leino tied the game with a goal in the third period. And Briere assisted on Claude Giroux's winner in overtime.
"I think Danny has been a playoff player for a long time now," Flyers captain Mike Richards said. "His will to win is up there with pretty much anyone I've ever played with. The way he's played for us, I think, in the last couple of games, has really brought us a lot of energy in that line. I think it won us the game [Wednesday] night."
The Redemption Line came together by accident, a happy by-product of losing top scorer Jeff Carter to a broken foot in the first round. Carter's absence created two openings: the second-line center, plus a spot for a forward.
Coach Peter Laviolette moved Briere, who had a less-than-stellar season playing wing, to center. Leino, obtained in an afterthought trade after the Detroit Red Wings gave up on him, began playing after being a healthy scratch. And Hartnell, who had a simply awful regular season, became the other winger.
"So three guys were searching for themselves at that point," Briere said. "But sometimes chemistry is a weird thing. Something you can't really explain. We started playing together, and it just clicked right away. When things like that happen and chemistry clicks, you try to ride the wave. You don't ask questions."
The Redemption Line has been the Flyers' best in this series. The Blackhawks focused their defensive attention on the top line of Richards, Simon Gagne and the returned-from-crutches Carter. And it worked, too.
With the ability to respond to Chicago's lines at home, Laviolette started the Redemption Line against the Blackhawks' checking line, centered by Dave Bolland. In trying to keep that line away from Richards, Laviolette trusted Briere, Leino and Hartnell to produce.
"That's why we're a team," Briere said. "It's not just about one or two guys or about just one line. It's the same thing with Chicago right now. That's the game of hockey. That's why you can't rely just on one line."
Briere was considered too small to make it in the NHL back when he was a prospect with the Phoenix Coyotes. So he enlisted the help of "Strongman" Hugo Girard, a 6-foot-3, 330-pound behemoth who had been named Canada's strongest man five times. Girard's goal was to make Briere like "a pit bull," strong in his core and able to hold his own against much larger NHL players.
It is that kind of drive that made Briere an elite player during his years with Buffalo. He came to the Flyers three years ago as a big-money free agent - pretty much the opposite of Leino, who was moved to create room on Detroit's roster. Hartnell came in the 2007 off-season trade that brought Kimmo Timonen from Nashville.
For Briere, the pressure is to live up to his billing. For Leino, it is proving he belongs in the league as a 26-year-old rookie. For Hartnell, it is playing as he did last year rather than this season.
"The playoffs sometimes [are] a second opportunity," Laviolette said. "You get to right some wrongs in the regular season if you're not happy with the way you played."
There is a chance, in other words, for redemption.
"This is one of the best times of my life," Briere said. "I'm trying to enjoy it as much as possible."
Every night, it starts the same.