PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers forward Ian Laperriere knew teammate Dan Carcillo was up to something when he hopped on the ice for his second shift of the overtime period against the New Jersey Devils in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round on Sunday.
"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," Laperriere said. "Sometimes, it might not be the goal-scorer who gets the big goal, it's the grinder. You rise to the occasion in times like this and I'm happy for him and happy for us."
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Carcillo scored the biggest goal of his career on Sunday, taking a feed from Mike Richards in the left circle and depositing his first of the postseason 3:35 into the extra session to send the Flyers to a 3-2 victory before 19,957 at Wachovia Center.
"It's pretty amazing to get a goal like that," Carcillo said. "It's hard to describe. Everyone wants to help the team win any way they can. It's hard to describe. It's just a really, really, really good feeling."
After taking a pass from Simon Gagne, Richards battled for the puck at the right post and took a jab at it before throwing it across to Carcillo, who had a wide-open left side of the net to shoot at for the winner. The victory gives Philadelphia a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series that resumes Tuesday with Game 4 in Philadelphia.
The Flyers are 21-9 when winning Game 3 of a playoff series and are 3-0 in overtime playoff games against the Devils. Flyers goalie Brian Boucher made 17 saves, including four in the first when the Devils finished 1-for-4 on the power-play.
Despite the loss, Devils goalie Martin Brodeur was brilliant. The future Hall of Fame goalie came up with 31 saves, including 12 in the third period and five in overtime before Carcillo's clincher. Brodeur said he never saw Carcillo.
"Ritchie put two shots on me (at the post) so I was in a crouched position, so he didn't stuff it in," Brodeur said. "When it went by me, I kind of didn't know where it was so I knew it wasn't too good.
"We go out and try to do our best and it's all about winning, so it hurts not to win," Brodeur added. "I've got to be strong for everybody all the time. I've done that all my career. Everyone is going to remember who's up, 2-1, not what the performance was."
The game was, perhaps, Philadelphia's finest effort of the series to date -- if, of course, you take away the eight power-plays they presented the Devils in the game. Unfortunately for Devils coach Jacques Lemaire, his team just couldn't take advantage.
"I had no complaints on the calls they made against us," Flyers forward Danny Briere said. "I thought they were good calls. We have to do a better job with our sticks."
Brodeur said his team was going for it in the overtime.
"We wanted to go out and get some shots on Boucher since he didn't get many (only three) in the third," Brodeur said. "We knew he was probably a little nervous getting some rubber and we tried to go after it. It kind of broke the momentum when we took that penalty in overtime."
David Clarkson was sent off for interference at 1:30 and the Flyers scored five seconds after the penalty had expired.
The Devils pulled into a 2-2 tie when Brian Rolston blasted home his second power-play goal of the night 16:38 into the second. Rolston controlled a feed from Ilya Kovalchuk at the left point and unleashed a cannon that beat Boucher to the blocker side.
The Devils finished 2-for-8 on the power play -- earning 13:24 of ice time with the man advantage -- and are now 3-for-19 in the series. The Flyers finished 1-for-5 on the power play.
"We got two (power-play goals) but for as many as we had especially early, and being that the crowd was ready to get into it, it would have been to our advantage to bury a couple goals a little earlier," Rolston said. "Maybe it would have paid off, but I think it came down to a bounce tonight. This is a tight series."
Philadelphia took its first lead of the game 1:15 into the second as Gagne forced a turnover after hitting defenseman Mark Fraser behind the Devils net. Carcillo picked up the puck and fed Richards in the slot. Richards fought off a check and roofed his second of the series over Brodeur's blocker. Fraser, who was filling in for Martin Skoula (healthy scratch) on Sunday, was making his first appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Devils defenseman Andy Greene drew two penalties in the opening 3:33 of the contest, but the Devils could only muster two shots while the Flyers blocked four others. Chris Pronger was credited with three of those blocks. The biggest block, however, came at the 3:21 mark when Greene's snap shot from the right point trickled past Boucher before Matt Carle alertly directed the puck into the left-wing corner.
Shift of the Game: Just after the Devils finished killing off an overtime penalty to David Clarkson, the Flyers struck for the winner. Positioned near the right post, Mike Richards twice threw the puck at Martin Brodeur. The first shot got blocked back to him; the second time, the puck skittered through the crease where an unchecked Daniel Carcillo pounced on it and sent it into an open net for the winner.