The Carbomb went off when given the chance to square off against his former Flyers teammates Sunday night, leaving disastrous results for Philadelphia.
A ploy that seemed kind of pointless actually paid dividends (literally), as Daniel Carcillo frustrated one of his old teams, knocking them out of any kind of sync, thus allowing the New York Rangers to rag doll backup Flyers goalie Ray Emery virtually the entire first period. Carcillo, a notorious hothead across the league, does have some offensive skill when he wishes to apply it, usually when he takes the time to use his forechecking skills to create scoring opportunities (something that he did quite well and quite quickly for the first goal of the game), but has a penchant for taking dumb penalties and putting his team in a bind.
Rangers Coach Alain Vigneault apparently felt the risk was worth it, and his gamble paid off enormously as it seemed the Flyers became more interested in trading chirps on the ice with Carcillo than listening to their head coach and working to combat the intense assault the Rangers had going on.
I had hoped the Flyers would collect themselves after getting hammered at home Saturday afternoon by the Lightning, but it looked the trend of bad defensive play would continue. Within three minutes of the start of this contest, the Flyers committed two terrible defensive gaffes, and the Rangers answered with two goals to match. First there was defenseman Mark Streit coughing up the puck during a vicious forecheck to the stick of Carcillo, who was swooping around from behind the net, only to collect the puck and whip it around and past an unsuspecting Emery.
That play could have been blamed on both parties seeing as Streit should have recognized Carcillo’s presence, but Emery should have as well.
The second goal featured three Flyers caught out of position behind their own icing line, leaving Rick Nash wide open to fly in and take a pass from behind the net and bury it past Emery, who was hung out to dry.
Things began to get chippy after that.
There was a moment shared between Wayne Simmonds and Carcillo that featured enough colorful language to cut off the between the benches microphones(which I didn’t mind, because it silenced Pierre McGuire) The jawing would proceed to carry over into the early moments of the second period when Luke Schenn decided to be Carbomb’s dance partner. Standing 3 inches taller and 30 pounds heavier, Schenn tossed Carcillo around easily, and the two would march into the box afterwards.
The Flyers weren’t content with having just one player in the penalty box, and a couple of minutes later Mark Streit joined a lonely Schenn after a slashing call to prevent a decent shot on goal against Emery. Not to be outdone with taking bonehead penalties, Nicklas Grossmann joined them both a little under two minutes after that, and this cycling of being a man down for such a long stretch led to Chris Kreider cashing in on a power play goal to give the Rangers a four goal lead.
It really wasn’t until the third period that the Flyers finally realized that they had been duped into playing mind games with a goon, and started to try and come back, but at that stage it truly was too little, and much too late. The only sentiment I felt was hoping that the Flyers would at least redeem themselves a little and not wind up shut out by the Rangers, and truthfully speaking Henrik Lundqvist was wayyyy too lucky to be so deserving of it.
Mark Streit answered that bell, with his goal coming by the way of a wrister from the center point, thanks to helpful screens in front of King Hank, the Rangers embattled but Hall of Fame caliber goalie. The rest of the game featured more chippy, chirpy occurrences, and more Flyers scrambles to try and close the gap in the score.
The ending would pretty much sum up how the tone of this game felt with multiple Flyers scuffling with multiple Rangers, and of course it began when Carcillo chased Scott Hartnell into the offensive zone, and started checking him. Hartnell threw a sharp jab, and both sides exploded. Luke Schenn chased down Carcillo yet again. Wayne Simmonds, who wanted a piece of Carcillo all evening, wound up in a shoving match with Brian Boyle. Brayden Schenn rabbit punched John Moore on the top of the head while Moore tried to hug Schenn to death.
The game just never really seemed to come together for the Flyers, and for one night at least, Carcillo’s cheap goonish theatrics actually played a quality role. It’s not likely the Flyers will get caught up in his magic act the next time these clubs meet, but giving away two points most definitely hurt the club on this day.