PHILADELPHIA — Never afraid to raise his fists, Dan Carcillo made his mark in the league as a puncher more than a post-season star.
Carcillo was a little of both for New York in Game 3.
Derek Stepan, Martin St. Louis, Dan Girardi and Carcillo scored goals, leading the Rangers to a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 31 shots to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is Friday in Philadelphia.
Carcillo, a former Flyer, went eye to eye with a taunting fan after he scored an insurance goal in the third period. He had 100 penalty minutes and only four goals in the regular season — and wanted to prove he could do more than camp out in the penalty box.
“When you get pigeonholed into a role, it’s hard to change people’s minds in this league,” he said. “When you get in and you get an opportunity like this, you’ve got to make the most of it.”
Lundqvist was backed by a defence that blocked 28 shots to stymie the Flyers. The Rangers took an early 2-0 lead and that was enough of a cushion for a team that led the Eastern Conference with 25 road victories.
“You need to be strong in the middle,” Lundqvist said. “It was part of our defence tonight. That’s why we played so well. We got involved all over the ice.”
Mark Streit scored for the Flyers. Ray Emery struggled in net in his third straight start of the post-season for Steve Mason, and was lifted late in the third period.
While all signs point to Mason for Game 4, coach Craig Berube said he has not made a decision. Mason hadn’t played since he suffered an upper-body injury in a collision on April 12. He got in this game with 7:15 left and the Flyers down 4-1.
Berube said Mason was healthy but went with Emery because of his strong first two games. Emery had 31 saves in a Game 2 win.
“Ray just came off a big win. It’s not a difficult decision,” Berube said.
After a rough outing, it seemed liked the wrong one — right from the start.
Rick Nash’s shot wide of the net deflected off the bottom of Emery’s glove, and Stepan shovelled the puck in for a 1-0 lead only 3:54 into the game.
St. Louis made it 2-0 midway through the period with a sharp deflection off Girardi’s shot from the blue line. The Rangers had two goals on eight shots.
Emery settled down and the Flyers finally generated some offensive pressure, even as leading scorer Claude Giroux failed to get going. Giroux, third in the NHL with 86 points, had not shots on goal in the first two games and didn’t get one in the first period. He did rush the net late in the first, creating space for Streit to score over Lundqvist’s stick on a 4-on-4 chance.
Giroux finally attempted a shot about 6 1/2 minutes into the second period and the Flyers down 3-1. The captain clearly needs to start scoring for the Flyers to win the series. He’s not alone.
“We have to get the pucks through, even move it sideways,” Flyers defenceman Kimmo Timonen said. “We have to watch tape and find a way to get them through. We have to find a way to move it around quicker.”
Girardi fired a clean slapper high from the point over Emery’s left shoulder for that 3-1 lead early in the second.
Down two goals, Jakub Voracek took out some pent-up frustration on Carl Hagelin with a flurry of punches that sent both players to the penalty box and sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Carcillo went after Giroux in the scrum, giving the Flyers the added bonus of a power play. But the Rangers blocked two shots on the power play.