Sunday, April 18, 2010

Carcillo (!?) wins Game 3 in overtime for Flyers

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The NHL playoffs are all about unlikely heroes. If you want to make a deep run in the playoffs, you need your role players to step up and make big plays and score huge goals. Sure, you have the stars on the ice to put your team in a position to win but, more often then not, it's a third or fourth line forward that comes through in the clutch.

Enter Dan Carcillo, Flyers pest. Despite playing just over 7 minutes in Game 3 against the Devils, Carcillo found time to pick up a penalty, take a dive, log an assist and, oh yeah, net the game winning goal 3 minutes into overtime. With the game tied at 2 in the extra period, the Flyers took advantage of a penalty drawn by Claude Giroux to set up for a rare overtime power play. As the power play wore off, Mike Richards fired a shot from the side of the net that Carcillo eventually slammed home to give the Flyers a 2-1 series lead.

After the two teams traded goals in the first two periods, the Flyers outplayed the Devils in the third, coming up with chance after chance as they outshot New Jersey 12-3 in the period. Only the sparkling play of Martin Brodeur in net kept the Devils from losing in regulation as he turned aside every seemingly perfect chance the Flyers set up. The rest of the Devils never stepped up, however, as they failed to generate any kind of offense to support the great game they got from their goaltender.

The officials should be under some serious scrutiny after the way they called Game 3. The players weren't allowed to play at all as the refs called every last possible infraction in the book, causing a parade of Flyers and Devils to go to the box all game long. The 30 minutes of penalties called by the officials led to an inordinate number of power plays for each team, with the Devils capitalizing on 2 of their 8 PP's and the Flyers scoring on 1 of their 5 PP's. I'm all for the refs calling a fair game but, come on, this is the playoffs! The refs shouldn't be the ones dictating how the game is played, it should be the players. As this series gets longer, things are only going to get rougher as the players get more annoyed with one another; if the refs continue to call every minor action there won't be any players left on the ice.

The Flyers continue to prove they are the better team in this series. Offensively, the Devils don't have any punch unless they have an extra attacker on the ice. Defensively, Jersey has been forced to rely on Brodeur to bail them out time and again. Just about the only thing that could hold the Flyers back from moving on to the next round is themselves. All complaints about the officials aside, if Philly doesn't adjust how they play to match how the refs are calling the game, they are going to penalize themselves right out of the playoffs. Of course, if they keep getting big plays from guys like Dan Carcillo, there isn't a team in the league that can slow them down.

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