Chris Pronger did not hold back.

Speaking Sunday night after Game 5's crushing loss, in which he was on the ice for six of Chicago's goals and in the penalty box for another, Pronger took his fair share of blame for the loss.

Game 5 was the first time Pronger was a minus-5 in 169 career playoff games.

"I don't really know what the reason was," Pronger said after the game. "I just don't think we played very well, to be honest. They got an awful lot of bounces to go their way. But they earned them. They played a lot better than we did in the first period."

He said it wouldn't happen again. History - and a hunch - says he isn't lying.

Pronger wasn't very good in Game 3 last round against the Montreal Canadiens. He was a minus-3 in the Flyers' 4-1 loss - their only loss of the Eastern Conference finals - and bounced back to be the Flyers' first star of Game 4 in a 3-0 win.

Pronger's coach, Peter Laviolette, has full faith in his anchor on the back end.

"Everybody could have been a little better [in Game 5]," Laviolette said. "I think if we just look for Chris Pronger to do it, everybody will be in trouble. We are a team. I'm sure Chris will have a big game and lead the way."

Undoubtedly, 2 days off - for the first time in the series - will help the 35-year-old defenseman, who has logged massive minutes.

"We have a couple days to rally the troops," Pronger said. "We've had a lot of tough losses in the playoffs thus far. We'll be all right."

Briere ready to go

Danny Briere took a high-stick from Duncan Keith just under the right eye in the third period on Sunday night but bounced back to finish the game. Briere told the Daily News yesterday that he will be ready to go for tomorrow night's game.

Briere is second in NHL playoff scoring with 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points in 22 games.

Keith was not penalized and Peter Laviolette said he "almost thought it was intentional" since the "puck wasn't around."

Keith's stick caught Briere under his half-shield visor, just an inch or 2 away from nabbing Briere's eye. Briere's cut "ballooned up" on his face, according to a spokesperson, and he needed several stitches to stop the bleeding after the game.

"It should have been a 4-minute penalty," Laviolette said. "You have to be in control of your stick out there. It was dangerously close to a severe eye injury."

For more news and analysis, read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at http://go.philly.com/frequentflyers.