The Flyers played their best game of the series so far, and it wasn't close. Even having to kill off a slew of penalties, they dominated the New Jersey Devils -- physically and territorially -- in a way that they hadn't been able to do in either of the first two games on the road.
Fired up by the Wachovia Center crowd, both comfortable and aggressive, they played the kind of game that they are going to need to play if they are to be the team they think they can be, if they are to make a long run in the springtime.
But the score was still 2-2 at the end of regulation.
A goal by Daniel Carcillo at 3:35 of overtime ended it, though. Mike Richards made the play from behind the net and then to the side of the net, and Carcillo banged in the rebound. And with that, the Flyers take a 2-1 lead in the series.
The shots after 60 minutes -- Flyers 28, Devils 18 -- told the story fairly accurately. After getting outplayed in probably four out of six periods at the Prudential Center in Newark, the Flyers came home and really dictated. Unlike in Game 2, when the whistles went against the Devils, the Flyers were called for nine penalties in regulation compared to the Devils' five. And even as the Devils scored both of their regulation goals on the power play -- both by Brian Rolston, both aided by screens in front by Dainius Zubrus -- the Flyers were never really robbed of their rhythm by the shorthanded interruptions.
They come in all flavors, overtimes do. Some are slam-bang, loose puck, goal -- over in a blink. Some are played on rocket fuel for the first 5 minutes before settling into cautious, nerve-wracking marathons. You never know how it is going to go. Given all of the chances the Flyers had in the first three periods, it was easy enough to predict a quick start for the Flyers in overtime. And when Danny Briere and then Jeff Carter on a doorstep rebound were stopped by Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur in the first 30 seconds, well, there it was. And then James van Riemsdyk was thwarted by Brodeur's sweeping poke check in front, well, there it was. And then when the Devils' David Clarkson was called for interference, giving the Flyers an overtime power play, well, there it was.
But you never know. Really, you never do.
Not until the puck is in the back of the net.