2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 2: Is Carcillo's return good for Flyers?

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Carcillo5.jpgChicago Blackhawks vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Stanley Cup Finals, Game 2

Blackhawks
lead series 1-0

Live on NBC, 8 p.m. EDT

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p.m.

The Flyers lost Game 1 by just one goal, and were able to walk away
knowing that at least they have the ability to keep up with the Chicago
Blackhawks. Still, there’s no doubting that the Flyers were nowhere near
as good as they could have been and never came close to using the
attitude, physicality and perseverance they have become known for in the
postseason.

In an effort to get back to what had worked so well
before, the Flyers will be playing Dan Carcillo for the first time since
Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Flyers lacked energy and
an overall aggression, something that Carcillo will certainly work to
provide in an extremely important Game 2.

If there is one player
on the Flyers that can instantly change the direction a game will take,
it’s Dan Carcillo. The small yet fiery player has the ability to be the
emotional spark the Flyers need, especially after spending the last
month of the season and the first two series of the playoffs becoming
something of a cult hero among the Flyer faithful.

Carcillo was
benched against the Montreal Canadiens to make room on the roster for
Jeff Carter, something that Carcillo understands as a move that was
needed for the team.

“Peter pretty much told me exactly why [I was
going out], and it’s a no
brainer – Carter comes back, he’s a 40-goal scorer, it’s pretty easy for
you guys to figure out, too.”

Yet it wasn’t easy for Carcillo to
just sit back and watch his team play without him. He’s an emotional
player, a guy who loves nothing more than to get out on the ice and stir
the pot. Yet he was relegated to watching the games from the box, not
being able to be there for his teammates.

“It’s probably the
hardest thing I’ve had to do in my career,” Carcillo said. “I’m a guy
who kind of wears his emotions on his sleeve and you always want to see
the team do well, and you’re still a part of the team, but it was a
tough pill to swallow.”

One thing the Flyers did excel at in Game 1
was playing a disciplined, in control game that never allowed the
Chicago Blackhawks offense to get rolling with the man advantage. With
Carcillo back in the lineup, there’s bound to be some penalties doled
out as he does all he can to shake things up with big hits and some
incredibly antagonistic approaches along the boards. Still, Carcillo
isn’t expecting to be so out of control that he’ll hurt his team.

“I’m
just going to play my game,” he said. “Running around, being
physical and not taking any penalties to put the team down. And staying
out of the stuff after the whistle.”

So is Carcillo’s return
something the Flyers need? He’ll be replacing rookie James van Riemsdyk,
so it’s not likely that the Flyers will be missing any big offense.
Carcillo also isn’t likely to see anything over ten minutes of ice time,
and will be used primarily as a means to give his team the mental and
physical edge they lacked in Game 1.

All in all, if Carcillo is
able to keep from doing anything dumb you have to see this as nothing
but a positive for the Flyers. They’re getting a player back in the
lineup that everyone on the team is happy to see back on the ice,
someone capable of providing emotional and physical support while having
the ability of scoring some timely goals as well.

As far as dumb
plays go, we could see some fireworks between Carcillo and the resident
agitator on the Blackhawks Adam Burish. Burish stated that he has no
prior history with Carcillo, although he added “maybe after tonight we
will.”

Carcillo might not be too thrilled with Burish after his
hit on David Krajicek in Game 1. It was a dangerous hit from behind,
although Carcillo isn’t expecting anything to happen with Burish.

“He’s a college guy. He’s not going to fight,” he
told Darren Dreger of TSN.

I’d say with
Carcillo, the Flyers are getting exactly what they’ll need: attitude.

The Buzzer: Celebrating genius of McDavid, Bergeron, Karlsson

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Player of the Night: Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

Nico Hischier collected two goals and an assist in a blistering effort as the Devils beat the Senators in overtime. Erik Karlsson almost ruined things for New Jersey with three assists. Andrei Vasilevskiy pitched an impressive 43-save shutout as the Lightning edged the Blue Jackets. Ben Bishop narrowly kept Clayton Keller and Derek Stepan from even bigger nights, yet each player scored two goals and one assist apiece in a slim Stars win vs. the Coyotes.

Even Bergeron’s teammates made some waves.

There were great choices for player of the night, but ultimately, Bergeron’s return to the Bruins lineup stands tallest. He scored a goal and three assists, soothing injury-bummed Bruins fans as part of Boston’s victory against Vancouver.

Bergeron didn’t ease right in. He won half of his draws, fired six shots on goal, and almost logged 21 minutes of ice time. Maybe he can hold things together for Boston?

Highlight of the Night: Connor McDavid‘s ridiculous assist

This post goes into greater detail on that and Edmonton’s win, so we’ll just stick this GIF in here because you need to see it either way:

OK, but to avoid an overly redundant buzzer, check Hischier here, David Pastrnak‘s great goal, and Mikhail Sergachev‘s big night. And, as a bonus, Will Butcher must have nodded to Karlsson after sending this ridiculous outlet pass:

Outstanding.

You know what? Enjoy Bishop robbing Derek Stepan as a bonus bonus.

Misc.

Click here for Erik Gudbranson‘s hit and fight. Zack Kassian‘s hit on Ryan Hartman is mentioned there, but just in case you missed it, here it is one more time:

Factoids of the night

Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators continued their hot streak by blanking the Flyers. Rinne enjoys a milestone moment:

Two impressive bits regarding how dominant McDavid and Karlsson have been:

Scores and more

Bruins 6, Canucks 3 (more)

Devils 5, Senators 4 [OT] (more)

Islanders 4, Rangers 3 [SO]

Predators 1, Flyers 0

Lightning 2, Blue Jackets 0 (more)

Oilers 2, Blackhawks 1 [OT] (more)

Blues 4, Avalanche 3

Hurricanes 2, Flames 1

Stars 5, Coyotes 4

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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Should Erik Gudbranson get suspended for boarding Frank Vatrano?

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The Boston Bruins power play made Erik Gudbranson and the Vancouver Canucks pay with three goals during the major for his hit on Frank Vatrano, but the NHL might decide to go further.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety confirmed that Gudbranson, 25, will receive a Friday hearing for the boarding check. The league tends to be vague about this, but Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that it’s expected to being an interview over the phone, rather than the in-person variety that can bring about harsher punishments.

Vatrano returned to the Bruins’ eventual 6-3 win against the Canucks, yet there’s a chance that he might have a setback. (Knowing Boston’s recent luck, don’t count on good news until you see it.)

Watch the video and Gudbranson’s fight with Tim Schaller in the video above, via Hockey Fights.

Fans responded to that announcement by pointing out one of Thursday’s other questionable hits: Zack Kassian on Ryan Hartman, which only drew a minor penalty:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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McDavid dazzles again, Oilers break slump with OT win vs. Blackhawks

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Update: The Edmonton Oilers ended up needing every bit of Connor McDavid‘s brilliance, as goals weren’t coming easily against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.

(Even though, as you can see with that highlight-reel assist, McDavid often makes it look easy.)

McDavid also managed a secondary assist on Mark Letestu‘s overtime-winner, ending the Edmonton Oilers’ losing streak at four games. The Blackhawks continue to be resourceful in getting standings points, in this case falling 2-1 in OT.

Anton Forsberg made 40 of 42 saves, but it wasn’t enough against a driven group led by number 97.

Here’s the OT goal.

If you haven’t seen the more amazing of McDavid’s two helpers, do yourself a favor and check it out. You won’t regret it.

***

Connor McDavid’s speed and skill are glorious, but the thing that makes him extra-sensational is just how unstoppable he seems. Even against some of the NHL’s best.

To start the season, McDavid made very-solid Calgary Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie look downright permeable during the most impressive goal in his opening-night hat trick.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, the superstar tore through the Chicago Blackhawks – including certain future Hall of Famer Duncan Keith – and then sent absolutely obscene pass to Patrick Maroon for an easy goal.

You know how people used to say that a fire hydrant could score 50 goals with Mario Lemieux? We might need to bump that down to 30 for modern hockey, but either way, Maroon might laugh uncomfortably at such jokes.

If you prefer your jaw-droppers in GIF form, drop away:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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Bergeron bombastic in return, but Bruins lose Krejci to injury

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The roller coaster isn’t slowing down for the Boston Bruins.

With Tuukka Rask‘s concussion looming over the proceedings, the Bruins gave fans some reason to celebrate; Patrice Bergeron scored a goal and three assists in an impressive 6-3 output by the B’s top guns against the overmatched Vancouver Canucks.

Even Anders Bjork enjoyed some measure of redemption after bowling over Rask in practice, as the young player scored two goals and an assist despite being limited to 12:29 TOI.

Other big guns like Brad Marchand did their increasingly reliable damage, with David Pastrnak probably providing the most exhilarating goal of the contest:

Yeah, that might get some attention from Canucks coach Travis Green in film sessions, assuming he doesn’t just burn the tape.

Bergeron broke down his night to Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy after the game:

The Bruins really made Erik Gudbranson and the Canucks pay for boarding Frank Vatrano, as they scored three power-play goals on the major penalty. Vatrano’s another health situation to watch, although it’s heartening that he returned during the game.

MORE: Gudbranson faces hearing for hit

***

So … solid stuff overall, as the Bruins provided ample evidence that they might have the weapons to scrap through all this bad luck.

Then again, if opponents can slow the top-end guys, you wonder what kind of supporting cast the Bruins will have left through this run of attrition. David Krejci is the latest name to land on Boston’s troubling list of walking wounded.

Here’s hoping that it isn’t a big issue for a veteran center who’s dealt with nagging injuries in recent years.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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