Newbie here, is it possible to connect a normal or a special with flame carpet? Or are you supposed to connect with an assist?
Use Assists. The only other ways to combo after a Flame Carpet are against small characters like wolverine in the corner (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXrjHx4PAXg) or X Factoring right after you do it.
also there is a sweet spot where if your opponent is in the corner and they are otg then you can do a tridash back and if you space it correctly they will bounce on the flame carpet 5 short times even if they arent a small character but this is unreliable. also if you are midscreen and you put a flame carpet down and they walk into it chances are it will tick away at them 5 times and give you enough time to tridash forward to confirm it into a combo. not easy! but useful