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Flyers Shuffle Lines Prior to Buffalo

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
Voorhees, NJ – In an attempt to get more scoring balance throughout the lineup, Flyers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock shuffled forward Kyle Calder to the line of Peter Forsberg and Simon Gagne for Monday's practice at the Virtua Health Flyers Skate Zone.

That is how the Flyers will begin Tuesday night's game against the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena (7:00 p.m., Versus, 610 WIP).

"We have been experimenting the last few days to see what the energy looks like," said Hitchcock. "With everyone working really hard right now, I think there are guys that can complement each other with their work ethic."

Through the first six games, Knuble, Forsberg and Gagne have eight of the team's 11 goals this season. Calder, who was Chicago's leading scorer last season with 59 points, welcomes the change as Philadelphia looks to get other players going on the offensive side of the puck. He is still looking for his first point as a Flyer.

"I've been doing what I always do, which is work hard," said Calder. "Right now, we're in a slump but you just battle through it. Hard work will pay off in the end if you just stay with it."

Mike Knuble, who is tied with Forsberg for the team lead in scoring with six points this season (6g, 6a), will be playing with Jeff Carter and R.J. Umberger at least to start. Gagne thinks that the change could be a boost for the team as it looks for its second win against a perfect 5-0 Buffalo squad.

"We are getting a lot of chances every game, but we don't find a way to finish those. Mike had success last game so it can help another line," said Gagne.

"The thing that is relevant right now is that we're trying to spread it out with some line changes, and we'll see how it works out," said Hitchcock.

Robert Esche, who has not played since the season opening loss in Pittsburgh, will be back in net against the club that knocked Philadelphia from last spring's Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"They are playing well and they have a real good team. It will be a challenge and I am looking forward to it," said Esche.

"We have a really talented team and it is a matter of time before everything clicks. Nobody is excited by the way we have started off, but we are a good team. We just have to keep working and get focused. Tomorrow is another opportunity."

Philadelphia will be playing the second contest of its four-game road trip, and will not get back to the area until late Friday night after a game in Florida. Gagne thinks this is as good a time as any for the players to come together and regroup after just one win in the first five games.

"Sometimes the road is the best time to get the guys together," said Gagne. "With being at home, we are just at practice and games. On the road, you travel together and go to restaurants together so it may be the best way to go. There may be a little less pressure not playing in front of your fans to play a more up-tempo game. We need to find a way to do it so it might be a perfect time.

"If we are not ready for this game (against Buffalo) then we'll never be ready for a game. They beat us last year in the playoffs and they are one of the hottest teams in the league. It will be a big game for us. If we do our job then we have a good shot of getting out with two points."
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