Tuesday, 11.29.2005 / 12:00 AM / News
To view the game notes for tonight's game, click here.
The Philadelphia Flyers will be without star center Peter Forsberg for a second straight game when they visit the New York Islanders in the back end of a home-and-home series.
An injured groin suffered during Philadelphia's 5-3 victory over Boston on Friday kept Forsberg out of the lineup in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Islanders.
Although the injury has improved, Forsberg, tied for the NHL scoring lead with 39 points, will not play Tuesday at Nassau Coliseum, again leaving the Flyers without their best player.
"It definitely feels better than it did in the game and it shouldn't be too long," Forsberg said Monday. "It's just not good enough to go tomorrow."
Forsberg said he won't push too hard because he doesn't want to strain the groin again.
"If you pull it a second time, it can be 10 times worse," he said. "I'm going to take it carefully and hopefully I'll be fine for the weekend."
The Flyers, losers of five of seven, clearly aren't the same team without Forsberg, who has had a hand in 39 of the team's 91 goals this season. The line of Forsberg, Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble has accounted for 44 percent of Philadelphia's offense.
Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock acknowledges other players have to contribute more in Forsberg's absence, but he doesn't want to put too much pressure on a lineup with five rookies.
"There's no point stepping up if you're not comfortable doing it," Hitchcock said. "The stepping up means you have to show the work ethic."
Forsberg isn't the only forward Hitchcock's team will be missing Tuesday. Rugged right wing Turner Stevenson will also sit out with a strained muscle in his right hip. Ryan Ready was called up from the minors and will make his NHL debut Tuesday.
New York's Jason Blake was the best player on the ice for either team Saturday, recording a hat trick and helping the Islanders avoid a season-high third straight loss.
Backup Garth Snow made a rare start and stopped 34 shots against his former team. Snow, who plays sparingly behind Rick DiPietro, has won his last three starts, allowing eight goals.
"Any time you win on the road against a top team, it helps your confidence," Snow said.
Blake has been playing well for a while, registering five goals and four assists in his last six games. Also contributing on offense is forward Mark Parrish, who has five assists in his last two games.
Islanders center Oleg Kvasha left Saturday's game with an ankle injury and is listed as day-to-day.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 28): Flyers - 29 points, 2nd place, 6 PB, Atlantic Division. Islanders - 25 points, 3rd place, 10 PB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Flyers - Gagne, 21 goals; Forsberg, 31 assists and 39 points; Joni Pitkanen, 38 PIM. Islanders - Miroslav Satan, 12 goals; Alexei Zhitnik, 16 assists; Alexei Yashin, 26 points; Janne Niinimaa and Zhitnik, 48 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 28): Flyers - Power play: 21.2 percent (31 for 146), 7th in NHL. Penalty killing: 75.8 percent (107 for 141), 30th. Islanders - Power play: 16.7 percent (25 for 149), tied for 19th. Penalty killing: 83 percent (137 for 165), 13th.
GOALTENDERS: Flyers - Robert Esche (8-4-2, 0 SO, 3.35 GAA); Antero Niittymaki (5-2-1, 3.46). Islanders - DiPietro (8-9-1, 3.31); Snow (4-2-0, 3.24).
SEASON SERIES: Flyers, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: Saturday; Islanders, 4-2. At Philadelphia, Brad Lukowich gave New York the lead for good with his first goal of the season 4:43 into the third period.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flyers - 4-3-1 on the road; Islanders - 5-4-1 at home.