Dan Carcillo is a lot of things. He is a pest, an agitator and - as Peter Laviolette has proved this season - a pretty decent hockey player.

Most surprising of all, to some, is the fact that Carcillo is a good teammate. Carcillo, believe it or not, represents exactly what the Stanley Cup playoffs are all about.

Before the Flyers' 3-0 win in Game 4 on Saturday in Montreal, Laviolette was forced to scratch Carcillo and third-liner Andreas Nodl to make room for Jeff Carter and Ian Laperriere.

To Carcillo's credit, Laviolette called the move "one of the toughest'' he has had to make since he was hired in December.

"Danny's a valuable part of the team," Laviolette said. "And I love Danny Carcillo and the way he plays the game."

After the game, Carcillo said he had no problem with the move.

"It's tough to not play," Carcillo said. "But you've just got to look at the bigger picture. Jeff played great and 'Lappy' played physical. It's a great team win. The guys had a lot of jump. It's great to see. We're up [in games], 3-1."

It was a numbers game. Besides Nodl, Carcillo was the only piece that could be pulled out of the puzzle without breaking up the second and third lines and all the chemistry they created.

Laviolette moved Carter to the wing with Simon Gagne and Mike Richards.

"There's just not enough numbers to go around," Laviolette said. "It's just one of those tough decisions. You've got people who have sacrificed to bring you this far. I had to make a decision . . . those are tough ones because he's a good kid."

Until he started skating on the Flyers' top line with Richards, Carcillo always had been viewed negatively - and part of that could be because he was traded for a popular player, Scottie Upshall. He couldn't control that.

In Laviolette's coaching debut with the Flyers, Carcillo - the NHL's penalty-minutes leader in 2008-09 - gave the Capitals a 9-minute power play. Washington scored three times on that power play and the Flyers lost, 8-2. Carcillo was suspended for four games the next day.

He has come a long way since then. Carcillo went from goon to 12-goal scorer. He is one of the best-liked guys in the dressing room. He made a believer out of Laviolette and the entire Flyers fan base, who now wear "Fear the 'Stache" shirts to games and jerseys with his name and number on the back.

The fact that it was such a tough call says more about Carcillo than anyone would have believed 6 months ago.

Now, one win away from the Stanley Cup finals, he is just one reason why this Flyers team is much more of a "team" than a lot of us thought 6 weeks ago.

Slap shots

Both the Flyers and Canadiens are 5-0 in elimination games this postseason . . . Michael Leighton has not allowed a goal in 15 of his 20 periods in net since replacing Brian Boucher in the middle of Game 5 in Boston . . . No team has ever won three Game 7s in one playoff run, which is the Canadiens' only option to advance . . . The Flyers are 18-2 when leading a series 3-1 and are 13-7 in Game 5 when leading with a two-game edge.