PHILADELPHIA – He usually hears cheers from Flyers fans after another fight has riled them up.
Buried under a pile of his teammates with nothing to see but a blur orange jerseys, Daniel Carcillo never heard noise like what vibrated throughout the arena. Carcillo, a fighter with squatters rights on the penalty box, morphed from puncher to post-season star with the biggest goal of his career.
Carcillo scored 3:35 into overtime to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Sunday night and a 2-1 advantage in the Eastern Conference series.
He looked left, right, then all he saw was a face-full of flying Flyers. A week after earning a playoff spot in a shootout against the New York Rangers in the regular-season finale, it was time for another wild Philly pileup.
“I’m still kind of shaking,” Carcillo said. “It was huge. It was awesome. Everybody dreams of a goal like that.”
Mike Richards set up the goal off a pair of shots against the sensational Martin Brodeur. Richards’ first shot bounced off Brodeur. Richards then slid the second one past Brodeur to Carcillo ? who put it behind Brodeur.
“Richards was banging away and they seemed occupied with him,” Carcillo said. “It was a pretty easy tap in for a game winner.”
The Flyers pounded Brodeur all game and outshot the Devils 6-1 in the brief overtime. Carcillo, who scored only 12 goals all season, added an assist in 7:11 of total ice time.
Claude Giroux and Richards scored in regulation for the Flyers. Brian Rolston had two power-play goals for the Devils.
Game 4 is Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
Brodeur did just about all he could for the Devils to keep them in the game on hostile ice with 31 saves. But Carcillo, known more for his punches and suspensions than scoring, found just enough of a hole to knock in the winner.
“The third period was probably the only period in the playoffs we were outplayed,” Brodeur said.
The Flyers already had home-ice advantage. They can take control of the series with another win in front of their orange-clad fans Tuesday.
Brodeur was sensational in the third, stopping every kind of shot from the Flyers. Philly dominated the puck and made Brodeur work hard for all 12 saves in the period. His nicest may have been a sprawling kick save on Danny Briere with 6:30 left in regulation. All it really did was delay defeat.
Brian Boucher ? who heard the sounds of “Boooosh!” echo throughout the soldout arena ? was solid as well. Ten years after leading the Flyers to the Eastern Conference finals, Boucher’s improbable second act is off to a flying start.
While goals were nearly even, whistles were decidedly lopsided in New Jersey’s favour. The Flyers were called for eight penalties to New Jersey’s three through the first three periods. It was 9-5 at the end of regulation.
Rolston capitalized on two of those chances.
With defenceman Kimmo Timonen in the box for hooking, Rolston put the Devils ahead 1-0 on a nice fake-and-fire from the point in the first period.
Rolston, who scored 20 goals this season, again came through with the man-advantage and this time he had some help. Dainius Zubrus set a perfect screen in front of Boucher ? shades of Chris Pronger’s plant for the Flyers in Game 2 ? and the Philadelphia goalie never saw the long shot whiz past him to make it two-all.
“I still think we can get more action in on Boucher,” Rolston said. “He’s been playing really well for them, but we gotta be better at trying to get more opportunities.”
Giroux and Richards gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead. Timonen made a sort of slap-pass from the circle to Giroux that made it 1-1 in the first.
Richards gave the Flyers a short-lived 2-1 when Carcillo punched a loose puck out from behind the net to Richards for the goal. Turned out, that was just the start of clutch plays out of Carcillo.
Boucher was bailed out early in the game when Braydon Coburn cleared a puck in the crease that was trickling past the red line for a sure goal.
Carcillo has been suspended four times in the last two seasons ? even serving one last year in the playoffs. He was docked two games in late March, and was fourth in the NHL in penalty minutes (207) a year after leading the league with 254. He was in the box only once for two minutes in Game 3 ? and found it’s more fun leaving a mark with a winning goal than with his fists.
“We were all going crazy,” Flyers forward Scott Hartnell said. “Obviously, that big pileup afterward just shows the emotion of the game.”
NOTES: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was at the game. … Brodeur was going for his 100th career playoff win … Pronger played in his 150th playoff game. … Members of the Phillies attended to root on the Flyers.