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Esche to Start Saturday Against Penguins

Friday, 01.20.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
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Esche to Start Saturday Against Penguins


Voorhees, NJ – Flyers goaltender Robert Esche will return to the lineup on Saturday and will start in net against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"They asked me today if I wanted to play tomorrow and I said of course. It was that simple," said Esche.

"I'm pretty excited about it, but I don't want to get too excited. I don't want to get too pumped up. When you get too pumped up because you haven't played in a while, you'll end up diving at a puck while someone holds onto it and puts it into and empty net. I want to make sure I'm patient, calm, relaxed and play well."

Esche, who turns 28 on Sunday, has missed much of this season with a groin injury and has watched as goaltender Antero Niittymaki has established himself as a solid NHL goaltender. Niittymaki has started the last 17 straight games for the Flyers.


"Antero is definitely entitled to play a lot of games from here on out. He's basically bailed me and the team out during my injury," said Esche.

Niittymaki welcomed the return of his partner.

"It's good to have him back. It's good to have two good goalies who can both play. It's a little competition and I think it helps both of us," said Niittymaki.

The Finland native, who was recently named to the Olympic team, is also looking forward to a day off.

"A couple days off will give me a chance to think about what's going on, about what I've been doing right and wrong," said Niittymaki. "It gives you a chance to think clearly. I'll get a chance to see some tapes of how I've played, which will help a lot."

Jamie Storr was reassigned to the Phantoms to make room for Esche.

Johnsson Skips Flight to Pittsburgh; Forsberg Still Out

Defenseman Kim Johnsson did not make the flight to Pittsburgh as the Flyers prepare for their Saturday afternoon game against the Penguins at Mellon Arena (2:00 p.m., NBC).

Ken Hitchcock explained:

"He has a pretty bad headache, so we asked him to go to the doctors, and he went there, and the concussion tests were negative but he's getting a CAT scan right now just to make sure that there's no issues there. We're going to leave him at home to do those tests and if he tests clean then he'll join us in Pittsburgh later [Friday]."

Also, Peter Forsberg will miss his second consecutive game.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
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10 TOR 49 22 23 4 143 152 48
11 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
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2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 49 17 40 11 57
C. Giroux 48 16 36 6 52
M. Streit 49 7 28 -2 35
W. Simmonds 49 17 12 -5 29
B. Schenn 49 10 19 -3 29
S. Couturier 49 10 12 -1 22
M. Read 49 3 15 -9 18
M. Raffl 40 12 3 6 15
M. Del Zotto 37 4 11 -7 15
V. Lecavalier 35 7 7 -10 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 9 12 6 .921 2.41
R. Emery 8 9 1 .887 3.38
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