NEW YORK - Daniel Carcillo put his fingerprints on this series without even dropping his gloves.
The Rangers' expert agitator didn't get under the Flyers' skin with antics and yapping, but rather by scoring two gigantic goals in this series. Last night, in Game 7, he got the Rangers on the board.
It's not easy to be a difference-maker when you're a 10-minute player who was a healthy scratch for four of the seven games. But elimination games like these often bring out unlikely heroes. Where have you gone, Joffrey Lupul?
"In Game 7 like this, I would rather go with experience and [Carcillo] had been in those situations before," said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, explaining Carcillo being active ahead of youngster J.T. Miller.
Carcillo and goal-scoring don't get into the same sentence very often, but the guy does have a sense of drama. That he did it against the Flyers (again) made his postgame smile even wider.
After Steve Mason frustrated New York's more accomplished scorers, especially Rick Nash, it was Carcillo who finally solved Mason in the second period and gave the Blueshirts that all-important first goal.
"That goal was huge. He gets inserted into the lineup and makes a difference right away," said New York defenseman Dan Girardi. "He's that type of player that can make a big play, a big goal or a big hit, and he was huge for us tonight."
" 'Mase' played great," Carcillo added. "We could have had four or five, but he kept them in [the game]."
Carcillo played for the Flyers from 2009-11 when he racked up 414 penalty minutes and scored an overtime goal during the 2010 playoff run. But the Flyers decided to cut ties following the 2010-11 season. Though he won a Cup in 2013 with the Blackhawks, he still remembers getting kicked to the curb by the Flyers. In their defense, they had younger players coming up through the ranks, namely Zac Rinaldo.
One of the lasting images of this series will be after Carcillo scored his first goal of the series, in Game 3, a tally that ended up being the game-winner. He was mobbed by teammates along the Wells Fargo Center boards as fans saluted him Philly-style. The picture is not suitable for this publication because the digits the fans were holding up were not index fingers.
This time, he basked in the cheers of his own, newest fans. Carcillo, 29, has played for five teams in 8 years.
"Whether it's the Flyers or any other team, it's nice to contribute offensively and bring energy," he said, before allowing a wry smile. "And if it's an old team, that didn't qualify you [with a contract offer], maybe you try a little harder."
Rangers forward Brad Richards said the postseries handshake line was a little bittersweet when it came time for him to meet up with former teammate Vinny Lecavalier.
Lecavalier, Richards and prominent current Ranger Martin St. Louis were the nucleus of the Tampa Bay team that won the 2004 Stanley Cup. Oddly, that team beat the Flyers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
"I'll be honest, it was very strange," said Richards, who is now 6-0 in his career in Game 7s. "I've known him since I was 14 years old and it was a dream come true to play in the NHL together. We've won some big things together and it was just strange to play all series against him. I know how much fun we had winning and how much he loves winning. It's tough to look good friends in the eye and know he's done."
Somehow the Rangers won the series without getting a single goal from Rick Nash and not converting on their last 21 power plays. Nash now has one goal on 85 shots in 19 playoff games with the Rangers. He had five more shots on goal last night, five hits and a clutch blocked shot on a Claude Giroux attempt in the third period. Still, one postseason goal for a guy making $7.8 million is tough.