CHICAGO - Looking for a spark, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette inserted left winger Dan Carcillo and defenseman Oskars Bartulis into Monday night's lineup against Chicago in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Carcillo replaced rookie James van Riemsdyk and moved to a line with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Bartulis took Ryan Parent's spot. Carcillo had missed three games as a healthy scratch, Bartulis had missed 16.
Simon Gagne moved from Richards' line to a unit with Claude Giroux and Arron Asham. The first letter of their last names gave them the GAG line, which was the nickname of the Rangers' famous Goal-A-Game unit (Jean Ratelle, Vic Hadfield, Rod Gilbert) in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Carcillo said he was excited to return to the lineup.
"That's all . . . I've been thinking about for the last week or so," he said before the Blackhawks outlasted the Flyers, 2-1. "I can't wait to get out there."
Carcillo scored 12 regular-season goals and posted six points (two goals, four assists) and a plus-3 rating in 15 playoff games before Monday. He scored an overtime goal to beat New Jersey in Game 3 of the conference quarterfinals.
The Flyers were hoping Carcillo would give them more energy and physicality.
"That's my game," he said after Monday's morning skate. "Obviously, I'm looking to make a difference, whether that be scoring or whether that be just going out there and banging everybody I see. That's pretty standard for me. If I don't do that, I'm not in the game."
After Carcillo was benched, the Flyers won the final two playoff games against Montreal. He then sat out the sloppy Finals opener.
"We closed out the Montreal series with two really, really good games, and our last game wasn't the best," he said. "It's a tough situation you're in, but you just have to somehow keep an even keel and just be positive. You always hope you can play.
"I mean, you play all year with these guys and you're battling to get to this point . . . and then you're out. It's a bit of a shock, but I'm back in, and it's a great feeling."
As for Bartulis, he replaced Parent, who committed a turnover that led to an early Blackhawks goal in their wild 6-5 win in the series opener. Parent played one shift - 41 seconds - and did not return.
Bartulis played his third playoff game Monday and his first since April 16 at New Jersey. He said the Flyers needed better coverage in their end.
A member of Latvia's Olympic team this year, Bartulis said he was not feeling uptight about playing his first Finals game.
"I don't know why I should be nervous," he said before the game and before being paired with Lukas Krajicek. "It's hockey. Maybe you will be nervous for a couple of shifts, and then it's just the same game. It's like the Olympics, the same game."
The Flyers were hoping to get more minutes from Bartulis and Krajicek so they could keep their core four - Chris Pronger, Matt Carle, Kimmo Timonen, and Braydon Coburn - fresh.
Bartulis played 10 minutes, 45 seconds and was minus-1; he contributed four hits and a blocked shot. Carcillo (three shots, two hits, one penalty) played 11:04 and was also minus-1.
Michael Leighton and his goalie counterpart, Chicago's Antti Niemi, rebounded from shaky performances in Game 1, when they each allowed five goals.
History was on their side.
Since 2000, goalies who surrendered five or more goals in a Finals game had a combined 7-0 record with a 1.14 goals-against average and .954 save percentage in their next starts.
Mayor Nutter and former Flyers Bob Kelly and Keith Primeau will be among the hosts at a pep rally Tuesday at City Hall's Dilworth Plaza at 1:30 p.m.
Fans can write good-luck messages on a giant, inflatable jersey, have their faces painted, and meet Flyers in-arena host Sean Murphy, "Dancing Guy" Shawny Hill, and members of the Flyers Fun Patrol.
Retribution next year?
The Flyers weren't happy with Adam Burish's hit from behind that jarred Krajicek into the boards in Game 1.
"It's the playoffs. You have to suck it up, and there's always next year," Ian Laperriere said before the game. "I'm not saying I'm going to do anything next year, but it's the playoffs. You can't worry about what happened last game because it might cost you two minutes or four minutes, and you might lose a game because of it."
Braydon Coburn led the Flyers in blocked shots (five) and hits (five). . . . Brent Seabrook (seven) and Troy Brouwer (six) led the Hawks in hits. . . . Chicago won 52 percent of the face-offs. . . . Van Riemsdyk has two goals and two assists in 18 playoff games. . . . Pronger needs two points to tie the Flyers' club playoff record for points by a defenseman. Pronger has 16 points - two behind the 18 notched by Doug Crossman in the 1987 playoffs. Crossman did it in 26 games. Pronger had played 19 games this postseason. . . . Blair Betts' goal in Game 1 ended a 28-game goal drought. . . . In Game 1, the Blackhawks led for 19:53, the Flyers for 4:57, and the teams were tied for 35:10.
In the playoffs, Carle and Claude Giroux, each at plus-7, share the Flyers' best plus-minus rating. . . . Chicago was again without injured left winger Andrew Ladd (shoulder); his replacement, Tomas Kopecky, scored the game-winner in Saturday's opener.