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Once again, it's hard to say when the Philadelphia Flyers'' leading scorer will return. Their former captain might not be back at all.
Following the latest setback to Peter Forsberg and news that Keith Primeau may be out for the season, the injury-ravaged Flyers try to start breaking out of their slump when they host the New York Islanders.
Philadelphia was shut out for the third time in a month and suffered its worst road loss of the season on Sunday, 5-0 to the Montreal Canadiens.
"We had nine first-year players against Montreal," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Everybody knows our situation. We''re limping."
It was the third straight loss and ninth in 12 games for Philadelphia, which has been dealing with numerous injuries all season.
The most notable one has been Forsberg's groin, causing him to miss 13 games. Among the league leaders with 62 points, Forsberg hoped to return for this game after missing the last five but left practice early on Tuesday because of tightness in his left groin.
"It's a little step back," Forsberg said. "I didn''t want to stay out there and re-injure it. It was getting worse during practice and I didn''t want to take any chances. It's very frustrating. It's bad timing."
Primeau, meanwhile, has been out since sustaining a concussion on Oct. 25, 2005. The former Flyers captain and three-time 30-goal scorer is visiting with doctors to see if there's any way he can return to play this season, or ever.
"In speaking with (general manager Bob Clarke), as everyone knows, a couple weeks ago I had to have a decision by the end of the Olympic break (Feb. 27)," the 15-year veteran said. "I have since been advised ... that it may be in my best interests to forgo playing this year and continue my rehab in hopes of returning in September."
The Flyers also have been without defenseman Eric Desjardins (concussion, shoulder) for the last 37 games, and Mike Rathje was lost to a groin strain Sunday. That blow came one day after Petr Nedved (groin) and Chris Therien (head) were hurt in a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers.
Desjardins and Nedved could return Wednesday, though defensemen Kim Johnsson (concussion symptoms) and forward Branko Radivojevic (ankle) remain sidelined.
The Flyers have won three of four meetings with the Islanders this season, with New York's only win coming at Philadelphia on Nov. 26 in a 4-2 victory behind Jason Blake's hat trick.
Blake had a goal on Monday, but the Islanders lost 3-2 in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It was the second loss in three games for New York after a season-best three-game win streak.
"We certainly played well enough to win, but we have to learn how to finish," said Mike York, who also scored for the Islanders. "If we were the ones down and tied it late, it would be a good point, but this was disappointing."
York has eight points in the last five games after totaling six in the Isles'' previous 16 contests.
STANDINGS: Islanders - 52 points, 4th place, 20 PB, Atlantic Division. Flyers - 71 points, 2nd place, 1 PB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Islanders - Miroslav Satan, 23 goals; York, 30 assists; Alexei Yashin, 45 points; Arron Asham, 92 PIM. Flyers - Simon Gagne, 35 goals; Forsberg, 47 assists and 62 points; Donald Brashear, 70 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Islanders - Power play: 17.7 percent (55 for 310), 16th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.5 percent (266 for 339), 28th. Flyers - Power play: 17.4 percent (56 for 322), 18th. Penalty killing: 79.7 percent (251 for 315), 24th.
GOALTENDERS: Islanders - Rick DiPietro (18-16-4, 0 SO, 3.44 GAA); Garth Snow (4-7-0, 0, 3.50). Flyers - Robert Esche (13-6-3, 0, 3.10). Antero Niittymaki (18-9-6, 2, 2.99).
SEASON SERIES: Flyers, 3-1.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 29, 2005; Flyers, 4-3. At Uniondale, N.Y., Philadelphia rallied from two goals down to tie the game at 3-3 heading into the final period, where Gagne scored the game-winner.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Islanders - 12-13-2 on the road; Flyers - 14-8-6 at home.