PHILADELPHIA -- Having just left three Maple Leafs searching for their jock straps on the Wachovia Center ice en route to his fourth goal of the season, Philadelphia Flyers tough guy Dan Carcillo decided to mock the overmatched visitors even more.
Often when a player scores a goal, he will skate past his own bench, tapping the gloves of his celebrating teammates.
Only this time he didn’t stop there.
Instead, he kept going, right past the Leafs bench, giving the visitors the type of stare which said: “How do you like me, now?”
Clearly, Carcillo, who normally earns his money scoring uppercuts instead of goals, was rubbing salt in the wounds of the Leafs.
Such was the embarrassment suffered by Ron Wilson’s team in a humbling, fight-filled 6-2 loss to the Flyers here in the City of Brotherly Loathe.
“It was a bit unsportsmanlike,” defenceman Ian White said of Carcillo’s act. “He’s known a bit for that. But, hey, he scored a goal and got a fight.”
Carcillo had a simple explanation for his actions.
“I just looked at (Colton) Orr a bit,” the Flyers pugilist said. “He had been running around at us doing his thing. I tried fighting him on that shift. When it didn’t happen, I scored.”
Then came Carcillo’s post-goal antics, aimed at Orr.
“It doesn’t even deserve a comment,” Orr said.
While his players may have been angry at Carcillo, Wilson was more steamed at his own team.
Having watched Alexei Ponikarovsky take a needless high-sticking penalty that led to Daniel Briere’s opening goal of the game, Wilson dumped the winger to the fourth line.
Ponikarovsky clearly landed in Wilson’s doghouse, he wasn’t alone. While Wilson didn’t name names, there clearly was an inference to a struggling Phil Kessel, too.
“If people are not competing, I’m not just going to sit on my ass and let it happen,” Wilson said, adding that “I have guys who haven’t scored in the past 10 games and are minus-8 in that span.”
For the record, Kessel has not scored since Dec. 30 against the Edmonton Oilers. He has not registered an assist since Dec. 12 versus the Washington Capitals.
Carcillo, meanwhile, wasn’t done with his antics.
After being taken down during a spirited scrap with Jamal Mayers early in the third period, Carcillo put his arms up to the crowd as he skated to the penalty box, showcasing what he calls his “rock ‘n’ roll gesture.”
The game got nasty in the third period, bringing back memories of the Leafs-Flyers slugfests of the mid-1970s. Included in the bouts: A win by Garnet Exelby over Arron Asham, and a clear decision by Scott Hartnell over the Leafs’ Jeff Finger.
Even more humiliating than the final score, however, was the Leafs penchant once again to fall behind in games. After last night, they now have trailed 1-0 a whopping 31 times and 2-0 on 22 occasions this season.
If ever there was a recipe for losing, this is it.