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Forsberg Hurt in 4-1 Loss to Washington

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
(Washington, D.C., December 16) – Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin each had three points in leading the Washington Capitals to a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night at the Verizon Center.

Peter Forsberg returned to the Flyers lineup after missing the last four games with his foot and ankle discomfort, but left in the first period with a slight concussion and did not return.

It happened on a big collision with Ovechkin in the Capitals' zone. Forsberg drew a hooking call to Dainius Zubrus on the play but left the ice before the power play began with 3:02 left in the opening frame.

Forsberg had been using a new skate boot in a game for the first time, and said that it felt good for the short time he was in the game.

"Overall I felt much better. I was skating around much better than I did before," he said. "I think there's a solution in sight. We still have a little bit of tweaking to do on the skate but other than that it's going the right direction."

He also did not think the concussion was too serious, adding that it was Flyers Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach Jim McCrossin's call to keep him out of the remainder of the game.

"It's not that bad. I was just a little shaky when I got up. I wasn't knocked out, and I remember everything, so it's not that bad," said Forsberg. "Jimmy didn't want me to continue playing and I thought that was a good call."

Semin put the Capitals ahead early in the second period. He carried the puck across the blue line and towards the net, faked a shot to get Antero Niittymaki down, and swung behind the net for a wraparound goal at 5:52.

A tip-in by Semin at 8:57 on a great feed by Ovechkin put Washington ahead 3-1 which is where the game stood after two periods. The goal came after Ovechkin kept the puck in the zone on a clearing attempt by R.J. Umberger, and one second after a hooking penalty to Alexei Zhitnik expired.

Zhitnik made his Flyers debut after being acquired from the New York Islanders earlier in the day.

Ovechkin capped the scoring at 3:16 of the third period, skating the puck from the Washington zone all the way up the ice, cutting to the slot and firing a wrist shot through Niittymaki.

The Flyers suffered their sixth consecutive loss.

Philadelphia opened the scoring on Mike Knuble's 13th goal of the season. Knuble made a cross-ice pass to Simon Gagne, and Gagne gave it right back to Knuble who fired the puck over the outstretched glove hand of Olie Kolzig at 3:31.

Zubrus tied it with just 37 seconds left in the first period on a rebound goal.

"We have a habit of giving teams energy at the wrong time, and if we had at least gotten out of the period 1-0 I think that would have bode well for us," said John Stevens.

Stevens was also asked about the effect of losing Forsberg so early in the game.

"He was a good player in the first period and when you take him out there we were a different team," he said.

Kolzig picked up the win with 21 saves while Niittymaki suffered the loss allowing four goals on 31 Washington shots.

The fourth and final game of the season series is on January 9 at the Verizon Center.

Philadelphia returns home for a game on Tuesday night against Carolina at the Wachovia Center.

Matt Ellison was reassigned to the Phantoms prior to the game, due to Forsberg being back in the lineup. … Darren Reid made his Flyers debut. … Joni Pitkanen led the team in time on ice (24:16) and shots on goal (five). … Kolzig made his first start against the Flyers this season. Brent Johnson faced Philadelphia the previous two games at the Wachovia Center, leading the Capitals to a pair of 5-3 wins.
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