(Voorhees, NJ, November 3, 2006) – In what was a frustrating way to end a hockey game, Peter Forsberg will be the first to admit that he lost his cool after getting called for high-sticking with Philadelphia looking for the tying goal late in the game against Tampa Bay Thursday night.
"I don't think it's good to take penalties like that at the end of the game. We're trying to win and we started to come back in the third and I thought we had a chance to tie it up," said Forsberg. "Then you get called for something like that I didn't agree with. It's been hard, but I think overall at least we showed emotion in the third period."
While his four-minute penalty with just 4:09 left to play in the game hurt the team's chances for the tying goal in what ended up as a 5-2 loss, the emotion showed by the Flyers' captain could end up helping the team down the road, beginning with Saturday night's game against the Washington Capitals at the Wachovia Center (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet, 610 WIP).
John Stevens, a longtime captain of the Phantoms, can relate to what happened.
"I've been in that situation as a player before. You're the captain of a team and things aren't going well. It's an emotional game," said Stevens.
"We went through long stretches there without a penalty [to Tampa Bay] and I think he felt there should have been. Then, every time he turned around he was getting a penalty so I think the frustration built there. The fact that he did show emotion and showed that he cared and didn't go away quietly; I do think there's some positive in that. But, there's a fine line between passion and discipline and we need to find the passion and keep the discipline."
Forsberg's passion was not lost on his teammates, including Simon Gagne.
"I like what Peter was trying to do last night," said Gagne. "It was an emotional game and we're trying to fight back and tie the game. You go out there and play hard and just before his call there was a little cheap shot on him and sometimes you get frustrated because of that."
Philadelphia trailed 3-0 after the second period Thursday, but regrouped and came out hard in the third period. To Stevens, that showed that the team has what it takes to get out of the slump it is currently in. That trend will have to continue, however, and not just last for 20 minutes.
"Between the second and third, I think we gathered ourselves and played, albeit too late," said Stevens. "The fact that your team can make a stand like that is a sign it has character. You don't just do that in a game and come back with a chance to win when you're being outplayed and not doing the things you needed to do early in the game."
"I think we know we have to play with more fire," said Derian Hatcher. "In the third period, we went out there and competed. We played hard. It was too little too late, but when we play like that we're a better team than we're showing.
"It's a process, and you have to work your way up to it."
The Capitals will face Robert Esche in goal on Saturday night. Esche's last start was a 3-0 shutout victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night in Philadelphia.
Washington is currently 4-4-4 in 12 games this season including a 4-3 loss to Atlanta at home on Friday night.
"They are a quick team and they are going to come very hard at us. We're going to have to move the puck quickly to makes plays because they are going to be right on [us] to force turnovers," said Gagne.
"They pride themselves in hard work and they are an aggressive team," added Stevens. "They are kind of in a building process where they had a tough year last year and they are looking to come out and build on the way they finished last year. They are going to work extremely hard and we have to be willing to match that work ethic."
The game will mark the last of a five-game homestand for the Flyers, their longest of the season.
FLYERS NOTES Eric Meloche was recalled from the Phantoms and practiced with the Flyers on Friday. Jeff Carter is questionable for Saturday with a left ankle contusion. Randy Robitaille's status is still undetermined. Robitaille left Thursday's game after falling hard into the boards.