Carcillo's return lifts Flyers past Red Wings, 4-3

Flyers4.jpgAfter being suspended two games for an “unintentional” high stick, it was decided that perhaps Dan Carcillo would be a snappy choice to start the game. It paid off instantly, and set the tone for the rest of a very, very big win for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Carcillo scored just 17 seconds into the first period when his wrist shot from the left circle found it’s way through Chris Osgood’s glove. It was a fitting start for Carcillo, who has become the emotional leader of a team on the brink of falling out of the playoffs and the atmosphere at Wachovia after he scored was electric.

“I wouldn’t say I gave anything extra today,” Carcillo said after the game. “We just went out and I played my game.”

Be careful to lay this win solely on Carcillo’s emotional spark. He played just 8:24 and finished with one shot, one goal and one hit, well below what we’re used to seeing from him this season. Yet despite the workmanlike team win, there’s no doubt that Carcillo’s presence boosted a team that needed some sort of spark.

And is there no greater fit for Carcillo than here in Philadelphia? He’s become an instant fan favorite with his physical style and his emotional approach to the game, and the Flyers fans have embraced a player that embodies the Philadelphia way of playing.

The Flyers live to fight another day, as they stave off a late-season collapse for one more game. They were able to take advantage of a tired, sluggish Red Wings team that was starting Chris Osgood in net — who challenged Boucher in a contest for “who can allow the most soft goals in a game”.

The Flyers will head to Toronto before taking on the New York Rangers in back to back games to close out the regular season, in a series that will decide the fate of both teams. Philadelphia was able to get two points out of a Detroit team that entered the weekend as the hottest in the NHL.

The Flyers locker room was far from celebratory after the win. The players were solemn as they talked about the victory, as they know their fate was delayed until the next game, when they’ll have to win the next Biggest Game Of The Season.

For now, Carcillo’s toothless grin while talking about a third period scrum with Tomas Holmstrom will be as much cheering as the team can afford.

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    Fight video: Someone other than Evander Kane beats up Alex Petrovic

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    Bummed out on this holiday? Look on the bright side: at least you’re not as sore as Florida Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic likely is right now.

    Not long after suffering three defeats at the hands/fists of Evander Kane, Petrovic likely lost another bout to Nashville Predators tough guy Anthony Bitetto.

    (Note: some might consider this more of a draw, for what it’s worth. You can watch that latest fight in the video above.)

    Hey, at least Bitetto didn’t taunt Petrovic after their fight …

    It was a rough night for the Panthers overall, as they suffered a gruesome injury or two and fell to the Predators by a score of 5-0.

    Outdoor game rumors: Jets host Oilers, Red Wings at Maple Leafs

    The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings face off during the first period of the Winter Classic outdoor NHL hockey game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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    Love is in the air on Valentine’s Day, and so are rumors about hockey fans bundling up for outdoor games next season.

    Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman went over two possible outdoor matchups coming for 2016-17 during Saturday’s Headlines segment.

    A smart move for a potential game in Winnipeg: Imagine the Jets hosting a game in Winnipeg in February? Ilya Bryzgalov almost turned off his TV in protest.

    Instead, Sportsnet’s John Shannon reports that the Jets are likely to host the Edmonton Oilers in October. That would be a smart logistical move, as long as it isn’t too hot.

    (Also, playing it then would hopefully increase the odds of the mainstream sporting public seeing Connor McDavid in an outdoor game.)

    Toronto’s turn: Friedman reports that the Toronto Maple Leafs are likely to host the Detroit Red Wings in the 2017 Winter Classic (or at least an outdoor game), almost certainly on New Year’s Day 2017.

    The two teams combined for a great Winter Classic at Ann Arbor in 2014, so that could be a fun time.

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    Keep in mind these are reports (and well-placed ones at that) rather than official announcements for the NHL. These things could always change.

    Related: Could the Penguins host the Flyers outdoors next season, too?

    Ducks likely to recall Khudobin after Gibson injury

    Chicago Blackhawks' Richard Panik (14), of Slovakia, collides with Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Chicago. Anaheim won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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    “Costly victories” may have been one of the themes of Saturday night, as some teams paired impressive wins with worrisome injuries.

    The good news is that, in each case, it appears that the early word is optimistic about those players (Tyler Seguin got stitched up in the Stars’ win, for example).

    The Anaheim Ducks are reportedly readying to recall Anton Khudobin on Sunday after John Gibson suffered an upper-body injury during a collision with Chicago Blackhawks forward Richard Panik.

    Again, so far the hope/expectation is that this might not be a major issue:

    The pessimistic take would be to wonder “Uh oh, is the Ducks goalie carousel starting again?”

    Frederik Andersen has seen some runs as Anaheim’s No. 1 guy, so maybe this issue is a reminder that the Ducks may be better off keeping both Gibson and Andersen around … at least while they can.

    Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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    For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

    They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

    • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
    • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
    • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

    Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

    Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

    Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.