PHILADELPHIA -- More often than not, overtime is about the ugly goal.
Well, Dan Carcillo specializes in ugly for the Philadelphia Flyers.
So it really wasn't all that surprising that Carcillo was looking for somebody to hug 3:35 into overtime Sunday night, having slammed a secondary rebound past New Jersey's Martin Brodeur to secure a 3-2 win for the Flyers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
"Marty played great and we kind of figured it would be an ugly one to win it, and it was kinda ugly," Carcillo said.
His teammates quickly obliged Carcillo's search for a celebratory partner, putting him at the bottom of a pig-pile right atop the Stanley Cup Playoffs logo just inside the blue line at the Wachovia Center.
"That felt pretty good," Carcillo said in the dressing room.
On the winning goal, Simon Gagne started the play by circling the net and shoveling the puck to the front, where Mike Richards took a couple of whacks at it, only to be denied by Brodeur, who was at the top of his game Sunday night. Richards' second attempt squirted into an undefended part of the slot and Carcillo pounced, driving home the goal that gives his team a two-games-to-one lead in this best-of-seven series.
"It seemed like they were occupied with those two guys and I snuck in there back door and luckily it squirted out and I had a pretty easy tap in," Carcillo said.
A tap-in, it seems, that he called before hopping over the boards for his date with destiny.
"He's sitting next to me (on the bench) and I tell him it's time to be a hero and looks at me and says, 'I got that one,' and he goes out and scores," forward Ian Laperriere said.
"Sometimes, it might not be the goal-scorer who gets the big goal; it's the grinder."
And, that is what Carcillo is; he's a grinder. He wears his hard hat with pride, willing to go to the dirty areas of the ice and wreak havoc -- hence, the nickname "Car Bomb."
Carcillo's not shy about imposing his will through brute force, but he also has a skill set that allows him to play with top-six forwards like Gagne and Richards. Sunday night, he combined snarl and skill to perfection.
In fact, the Carcillo-Richards-Gagne line was, by far, Philadelphia's best on this night. It combined for Philadelphia's second goal as Carcillo chased down a turnover behind the Devils net, forced by Gagne's aggressive forecheck, and fed a perfect pass to Richards for an uncontested one-timer. In the game, those three players combined for nine shots and 10 hits.
"He was physical getting in on the forecheck," Flyers forward Scott Hartnell said of Carcillo. "Good things happen when you go to the net, and he was able to get a bounce there and put it in the back of the net."
Flyer goalie Brian Boucher usually has the best view in the house, standing almost 200 feet away as Carcillo buzzes and bashes his way around the offensive zone, trying to establish the cycle and get his teammates the puck. Sunday night, he saw that effort -- usually a painful one -- pay off for Carcillo. So he made sure he gave the hero a hug before heading down the runway into a very happy dressing room.
"We're just happy that it was Car Bomb tonight," he said. "I couldn't be happier for him. He pays a price, works hard, and it's nice to see him get rewarded like that."