Forsberg Excited to Face Koivu and Canadiens
Monday, 10.24.2005 / 12:00 AM / News
Montreal, Quebec – The Philadelphia Flyers will look for their fourth straight victory when they take the ice at the Bell Centre in Montreal to face the Canadiens on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.
Both the Canadiens and Flyers can boast of two of the best European players in the game today in Finland's Saku Koivu and Sweden's Peter Forsberg. The two players know each other well, and have been competing since they were kids back in their respective countries.
"We used to battle a little bit when I was younger, with Finland against Sweden," said Forsberg. "He works really hard every time he's on the ice, and he's really competitive. He plays hard every single shift, so it's going to be a tough game.
"I'd rather play against the worst guy in the league (laughs), but if we have to play against him, that's what we have to do," he said. "You know you have to prepare yourself like you have to play your best game, because you know you're going to be out-competed if you don't go out and play hard. I don't mind playing against him, but it's going to be a tough game. Montreal has been playing well together as a team."
As impressive as Forsberg has been in his first six games with the Flyers, he is still looking for his first goal. After adding a pair of assists in Saturday's victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Forsberg now has 12 helpers but still no goals.
It is not something that concerns him all that much, however.
"It usually evens out in the end. I have been close a couple of times, but nothing that really bothers me," said Forsberg. "I've been in the league a long time, so I'm not worried about it. I wouldn't mind scoring, of course, but I think I'm keeping my linemates happy. Maybe they will return the favor soon."
One area in particular in which the Flyers will look to improve upon in their power play. They were 1-for-8 on Saturday, and now have just a 12.7 percent success rate with the man advantage, good for 25th in the league.
The key to improving upon that mark is more movement to free up players like Forsberg, according to Ken Hitchcock and Keith Primeau.
"We are not using the width of the ice and we're not opening it up with shots from the point consistently," said Hitchcock. "We have to use the 85 feet a lot more if we expect Peter to have shooting angles. It's not that Peter doesn't shoot the puck, it's the way that we're playing right now with that unit there is no opportunity to shoot the puck, so we have to open it up. You have to have movement of the puck, and we're trying to go up-and-down rather than across. We've got to start going across."
"We're working on set plays, but at the same time, we're trying to give our skilled guys the opportunity to be creative," said Primeau. "There are areas that we can improve upon that can ultimately translate into goals and power play percentage. We just have to capitalize on them. It's not a concern yet, but there are going to be lots of games that come down to special teams and the power play is going to be a big part of it."
Robert Esche will be in goal against Montreal on Tuesday night. … The Flyers return home on Thursday, Oct. 27 to face the Florida Panthers. Great seats still remain for the game, and can be purchased by clicking here.