Not sure what was more entertaining: The Flyers’ 2-0 win over the visiting New York Rangers Thursday, or the sideshow between losing coach John Tortorella and Philadelphia winger Dan “Car Bomb” Carcillo.
First things first: The ninth-seeded Flyers controlled the game, forced the sixth-seeded Rangers to shoot from the perimeter, and moved to within two points (with two games in hand) of New York in the Eastern Conference.
Ray Emery notched his first shutout since opening night, and James van Riemsdyk _ who has 30 points, placing him third among NHL rookies _ and Mike Richards scored goals. Richards became the Flyers’ first 20-goal scorer this season.
The Flyers also got strong games from Chris Pronger _ he had a long, “home-run” pass to set up JVR’s goal _ Kimmo Timonen (four blocked shots), Darroll Powe (six hits) and passing magician Claude Giroux.
It was their fifth straight home win, and they are 2-0 on their six-game homestand.
For added entertainment, there were four fights. Carcillo was in two of them, as was the Rangers’ Sean Avery.
With the Flyers holding a 1-0 lead, Carcillo pounded Marian Gaborik, the Rangers’ 29-goal scorer, in a mismatch early in the second period.
Tortorella screamed expletives at the Flyers’ bench.
He carried his anger into the post-game news conference.
The coach thought Carcillo was deliberately trying to take his top scorer out of the game.
“There's no honor in that,” Tortorella said. “…I don't want to say too much about it, but there's simply no honor. It's pretty embarrassing."
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, naturally, disagreed.
“That’s not the way I saw it,” Laviolette said. “I saw a scrum in front of our net and we were outnumbered. Danny came in and picked somebody off the pile, and Gaborik dropped his gloves first, so Danny can either get punched or he can drop his and fight. I think the refs saw it that way as well because they both got five minutes for fighting.”
Tortorella, with sarcasm dripping, called Carcillo a “brave guy.”
“Danny Carcillo doesn’t make a habit of going after the other team’s top players,” Laviolette said. “He does a lot of dirty work that other people don’t want to do; usually it’s with…guys that are pretty tough as well.”
Carcillo said he “didn’t really expect to fight who I fought, but it kind of worked out. I don’t know who on that line would have been able to help him, though. I wasn’t expecting him to drop his gloves, but when he did, I pretty much was licking my chops.”
In the third period, Avery defeated Carcillo in a fight. Carcillo said he hurt his hand in an earlier fight and consequently wasn’t able to throw many punches.
It was the second straight time the Flyers had blanked the Rangers. The last time they posted back-to-back shutouts over the Rangers was in 1999. John Vanbiesbrouck posted both shutouts.
The Flyers kept most of the action in New York’s end with a well-schooled cycle.
“We’re getting there. The guys, they understand it and they’re really working hard at it,” Laviolette said. “They’re moving a lot; they’re moving for each other, and it can create a lot of chances. Sometimes it doesn’t create anything, but you’re looking all the time. They're starting to get the hang of it. They work hard at it, too, in practice….If something’s not natural to you, you have to keep doing it over and over in order for it to feel natural.”