VOORHEES, N.J. - Dan Carcillo would've fit right in with the Broad Street Bullies. He's known for fighting, spends a lot of time in the penalty box and agitates opponents. Heck, he even has a 1970s-style moustache.
If the Philadelphia Flyers end up winning the Stanley Cup for the first time since the Bullies hoisted it 35 years ago, Carcillo's stickwork might be the turning point in their playoff run.
A day after scoring an overtime goal to give the Flyers a 3-2 win over New Jersey and a 2-1 series lead, Carcillo still was the centre of attention. It's not every day that an enforcer scores such a crucial goal.
"It gives me goose bumps," Carcillo said Monday. "You can't beat scoring a playoff goal in overtime."
Game 4 of the best-of-seven, first-round series is Tuesday night in Philadelphia. The seventh-seeded Flyers, who've won seven of nine meetings against the Devils this season, can take control of the series with another victory.
Though he had only 12 goals during the season and spent little time on the ice during regulation, Carcillo had a feeling he was going to make a difference in overtime. He told teammate Ian Laperriere he would win the game.
"On the bench, I said to him, 'It's time to be a hero,'" Laperriere said. "He said, 'I got this one.' And, he went out and did it. It's huge to have third-and fourth-line guys chipping in. Daniel chipped in in a big way."
The 25-year-old Carcillo has been suspended four times in the past 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 racked up 324 penalty minutes in just 57 games as a rookie with Phoenix in 2007-08.
But Carcillo isn't a typical goon because he sometimes finds a way to put the puck in the net. He had a career-high 13 goals with the Coyotes in his first full season in the NHL two years ago.
"Danny's really effective," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "I thought he was an effective player on the ice with his physical play and, obviously, his offence. In order for him to be effective, he has to do both. It can't just be about being a physical player. He's playing with players that need him to be able to manoeuvr the puck as well."
The Flyers are going to need contributions from everyone to beat the Devils. Goaltender Martin Brodeur was incredible in Game 3, and the four-time Vezina Trophy winner is capable of winning the series for New Jersey by himself.
"Last night, he was unreal," said Devils centre Rod Pelley. "You can tell he's on his game and he's setting the tone for the rest of the club right now."
New Jersey held an optional skate on Monday and only a handful of players participated. Despite the deficit, the team is confident it can recover. The Devils trailed the Flyers 3-1 in the 2000 Eastern Conference final only to win three straight.
"No one likes accepting a loss, especially with how crucial every game is now. But we're definitely still remaining confident," defenceman Mark Fraser said. "There's no reason for us not to be. There's a reason why it's a seven-game series and we feel like we're the better team. We just want to play the type of playoff hockey that we know we're capable of playing. It's a long series, it's going to be a physical series, and I think guys are still comfortable with where we are."
The Flyers aren't going to survive unless they cut down on their penalties. New Jersey had eight power-play chances in Game 3 and scored twice.
"The penalty kill has been really good," Laviolette said. "They scored a couple goals on shots from the point and we need to somehow get in front of those or clear somebody out in front of the net to give our goaltender a better chance to see it."