Forsberg Scores Twice in Victory But Leaves Game Early
/ Philadelphia Flyers
Boston, MA – Peter Forsberg scored two goals and assisted on another, but left after two periods of play with a right groin strain as the Flyers defeated the Boston Bruins at the TD Banknorth Garden, 5-3.
Forsberg was kept out of the third period for precautionary reasons and is listed as day-to-day.
"It's not serious, but we're not taking any chances. We're just going to see how he is for [Saturday]," said Ken Hitchcock. "I wasn't willing to take any chances, so I pulled him."
"It's not that bad. It wasn't good enough to play, but we'll see how it is a little later," said Forsberg.
A wild second period in which the teams scored a combined six goals ended with Philadelphia holding a 4-3 lead.
On one of the stranger goals of the season, the Flyers made it 2-0 on the power play. Eric Desjardins dumped the puck in the zone, and it went behind the Boston net where Forsberg and Bruins defenseman Hal Gill collided. Gill tried to play the puck off of the boards but it popped into the air, bounced off of goaltender Andrew Raycroft and trickled in. Desjardins was credited with his second goal of the season.
Boston came storming back, scoring three unanswered goals in just over four minutes. First it was Eric Nickulas, who skated around Desjardins and beat Antero Niittymaki on a nice move cutting to the crease. A Joe Thornton breakaway goal at 8:42 tied the game, and then Jiri Slegr's shot from the high slot at 9:51 gave Boston its first lead.
Forsberg made sure that lead did not last long. His laser of a wrist shot on a Flyers power play found a small space above the near shoulder of Raycroft to make it 3-3 at 11:04.
"When they scored to make it 3-2 it looked pretty tough," said Forsberg. "They were really coming and getting the crowd into it, so it was great we got the [power play] goal right after that."
He scored again just two minutes and two seconds later in what turned out to be the game-winner. Simon Gagne skated the puck towards the net and it was poked away by a diving Milan Jurcina and then off of Raycroft, but Forsberg was there to knock in the rebound.
The Bruins outshot the Flyers 13-6 in the third period, but Niittymaki made sure the lead held up. An empty-net goal by Michal Handzus at 19:36 sealed the victory.
Gagne's 21st goal of the season gave the Flyers a first period lead. Forsberg skated between a couple Boston players behind the net and fed Knuble along the boards. Knuble sent a nifty backhanded pass to Gagne at the side of the net for an easy tip in at 16:11.
Sami Kapanen played in his first regular season game, as he had been recovering from surgery on his right shoulder. A mainstay on the Flyers' penalty-killing unit, Kapanen made his presence felt early helping stave off two Bruins power plays before Gagne's tally. He also picked up his first point of the season, assisting on Forsberg's second goal.
Philadelphia, which entered the game with the league's worst penalty killing percentage, killed off all four Boston power plays.
"We're doing a lot of really good things killing penalties right now. Hopefully we can keep it up," said Hitchcock. "We look like we're in total sync with each other right now."
Said Kapanen of playing in his first game with the new NHL rules: "I think it's a lot of the way I've been playing in past years anyway. I try to avoid the penalties and move my feet and hopefully in a couple games I'll start to feel better, but I'm really happy that I'm back."
The Flyers return to Philadelphia for the first afternoon home game of the season against the New York Islanders at 2:00 p.m. at the Wachovia Center on Saturday.
FLYERS NOTES Flyers won previous meeting between the two clubs, 4-3 in overtime on Nov. 8 in Philadelphia. Patrick Sharp was a healthy scratch. Mike Richards returned to the lineup after missing the previous game with a sprained right wrist. Donald Brashear took a puck to the face and left the ice in the second period before returning in the third and is listed as day-to-day. Desjardins' goal was originally credited to Forsberg, but was changed in the third period.