News and Notes: Game Three, Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
/ Philadelphia Flyers
Forsberg Scores a Pair
They weren't the prettiest goals of his career, but Peter Forsberg's two tallies that banked in off Buffalo players were the difference in the game. In both cases, he wasn't necessarily trying to score when he tossed the puck in front of the net.
"I didn't know, I was just trying to hit something in front of the net, just trying to get it there," Forsberg said. "It was kind of my two luckiest goals ever, but we'll take them and go from there."
Forsberg also came out with a notably physical effort. Five minutes into the game, he went into the corner and drilled a Buffalo player, which earned Forsberg a charging penalty. Later, when the Sabres' Paul Gaustad tried to line Forsberg up along the boards near the blue line, Forsberg played the puck and then sent him flying with a well-timed shoulder check.
"You try to hit them all the time," he said. "We're a little bigger and they've got some small guys, so we've got to make sure if they touch the puck sometimes, we've got to make sure we try to hit them. Not try to go out of the way to hit them, but just to make sure they know we're there next time and they can't do those small plays."
Mike Knuble felt the physical play by Forsberg and the Flyers as a team was important in the win.
"I think you have to do that at home and make sure you're making them pay a price all the time," Knuble said. "We want to do it on the road too, but we were pretty effective with that tonight. That's part of [Forsberg's] package, that he's a physical player. He likes to do that, and that's what makes him so effective."
Knuble wasn't surprised by his linemate's effort in stepping up to lead the team.
"It's his time of year," Knuble said. "That's why he's here, because of how he plays in the playoffs. He does it all over the ice – passing, scoring goals, and physical play. He does it everywhere."
Umberger Makes His Return
R.J. Umberger was back in the lineup on Wednesday after missing Game Two in Buffalo. He was held out as a precaution following the Game One hit that left him dazed and broke his nose. After the game, he reported no ill effects.
"I feel good," Umberger said. "It was a good team win, and I tried to contribute as much as I can. I was a little cautious at first, but I tried getting into it by banging some bodies around and getting my feet wet. By the second period my legs started to come under me and I felt better."
Umberger saw just over eight minutes of ice time, mostly in the second and third periods.
"The first period, there were a lot of penalties, so it was hard to get a rhythm going and get my legs going real well," he said. "In the second period I got more shifts and more momentum, which is what I was looking for, and it just went from there."
The contest was Umberger's first home playoff game with the Flyers, and he was impressed with the atmosphere in the Wachovia Center.
"It was pretty electric," he said. "The fans were with it early, and with the God Bless America, it was rocking pretty good. Unfortunately [Buffalo] got that first goal, but [the fans] stayed in it and we came back. They were crazy all night, and it was good."
Savage Goal Key
Ken Hitchcock and the Flyers players all agreed that Brian Savage's shorthanded goal in the first period to tie the game at 1-1 was the key goal of the series so far.
"We were on our heals. I am sure the feeling in the stands was 'Oh no, here we go again,'" said Hitchcock. "To get it back that quick was huge for us. It brought the building alive again and it brought our bench alive. I think that was the biggest goal in the series. That goal brought everyone back in the game and brought our team back in the game. It seems like every mistake we make against Buffalo was going in our net."
"We were down 1-0 early and we came right back. That was a huge goal by Savage," said Forsberg.