Daniel Carcillo provided a big boost in his first appearance this season, scoring a pivotal insurance goal for the Rangers in the third period of game three. Our own Jeremy Strauss has more:
On Tuesday night in Philadelphia, as the Rangers defeated the Flyers 4-1 to take a 2-1 series lead, a new chapter in the saga of Daniel Carcillo’s career was unfolding.
The Rangers winger, who played three seasons on Broad Street from 2008 to 2011, received the go-ahead from head coach Alain Vigneault to make his 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs debut in Game Three, replacing young forward Jesper Fast. Carcillo, a feisty agitator with a thirst for competition, was all over the ice and did not disappoint.
“I knew putting him in the lineup that he would bring energy and he would try and play the way he can play,” Vigneault reflected after the contest.
Vigneault’s confidence in his grinding fourth-liner was not unwarranted. After all, Carcillo has made a career of “playing the way he can play”: antagonizing the opposition at every opportunity, sticking up for fellow teammates, and adding a bit of offense when needed.
Needless to say, the Flyers fans did not view their former son’s homecoming as a warm reunion, and voiced their displeasure with Carcillo in more ways than one. Indeed, some of the loudest eruptions in the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night came on plays involving a potential injury or penalty to Number 13.
In the third period, Flyers forward Matt Read clipped Carcillo in the head cutting while across at center ice. Although the play was reviewed by the NHL, neither referee saw the incident. Thus, despite the protests of Carcillo, who lay on the ice for a solid few minutes, no penalty was called. Living up to their less than classy reputation, Philadelphia fans booed as the Rangers forward remained virtually motionless for a good chunk of time.
“Nothing surprises me about this city and the way people act,” Carcillo responded to a postgame question regarding the lack of support from the City of Brotherly Love faithful.
On the next shift, Carcillo took a markedly questionable hooking penalty against Read, rightfully took exception, and narrowly avoided an additional two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct. However, upon exiting the box, as Katie Strang of ESPN New York suggested after the game, “poetic justice” was soon to be served.
In a developing two-on-two, Carcillo streaked down the center of the ice as Brian Boyle carried the puck along the boards. At the top of the circle, Boyle delivered a flawless pass to Carcillo, who one-time backhanded the puck past Ray Emery to notch the Rangers a 4-1 lead with less than ten minutes to play in the third, virtually sealing Game 3.
But it was what occurred after the goal that will likely remain one of the wackiest and perhaps most avant-garde celebrations in Stanley Cup Playoffs history.
Skating toward the referee standing along the boards, Carcillo raised his stick much like a lumberjack poised to chop down a tree. He then whacked it against the glass and stared down several Flyers fans in the front row – who offered him less than family-friendly gestures and language – for a good few moments as his teammates mobbed him from behind.
If you haven’t seen it and you consider yourself a hockey fan, watch the video online. It’s worth it.
“It’s an emotional game and I’m an emotional guy,” Carcillo said. “Over the years I’ve tailored it but tonight it kind of came out.
For a player who skated for three years in orange and black, the goal was especially sweet.
“I played here. I know people on that other side. When you don’t get qualified by a team it basically means they don’t want you.”
Expect to see Carcillo, replete with extra attention from Philadelphia’s own agitators, in game four.