Forsberg scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and sparked the Flyers to a 6-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings in the only NHL game Monday night. On a night when former captain Keith Primeau was honoured in an emotional pre-game ceremony, it was like old times at the Wachovia Center. The NHL-worst Flyers scored two short-handed goals and one on the power play to win their second straight at home after losing a team-record 13 straight in their arena.
Michael Leighton stopped 31 shots in his second straight start for the Flyers. Before a win Saturday against St. Louis, Leighton hadn’t made an NHL start since March 23, 2004, when he was with Chicago.
R.J. Umberger scored twice, and Mike Richards, Simon Gagne and Todd Fedoruk also scored for the Flyers.
Tomas Holmstrom scored the only goal for Detroit. The Red Wings haven’t won in Philadelphia since Jan. 25, 1997, losing five straight over 10 years.
Forsberg snapped a tie early in the third period with his 11th goal before the Flyers turned this one into a rout. Umberger scored twice, and Gagne and Fedoruk added goals after that to give the sellout crowd something to cheer for one of the few times this season.
Those fans hope they get to cheer Forsberg for at least the rest of the year. Forsberg, a free agent at the end of the season, met with team chairman Ed Snider on Sunday to discuss the former MVP’s future. Both sides declined to discuss the specifics of the meeting.
All Forsberg has to do is tell the Flyers that he wants to re-sign with them or ask to be dealt to a contender before the Feb. 27 trade deadline. So far, at least publicly, Forsberg has kept that decision to himself.
Eight teams had scouts at the game, all but one of them from teams rumoured to be interested in Forsberg.
The only goals until the third came late in the first period. With Forsberg in the penalty box for hooking, Holmstrom scored his 20th goal of the season on the power-play for a 1-0 Detroit lead.
The Flyers tied it on a short-handed goal, thanks to some nifty stick work from Richards. First he swiped the puck from Pavel Datsyuk, then shuffled it to Sami Kapanen near the net. Kapanen had a strong look, but his shot bounced off Joey MacDonald’s pads and a hard-charging Richards knocked in the rebound for his fourth goal.
Then the Flyers got going in the third. Forsberg scored at 4:20, Umberger slid one in for his 10th goal at 7:08, and Gagne made it 4-1 at 10:58 with his 29th goal. Umberger scored his second of the game at 12:33, then Fedoruk added one on a breakaway at 15:05.
Notes: Primeau, 35, was forced to retire before the season because of the lingering effects from concussions. The Toronto-born centre was drafted by Detroit in 1990. The Red Wings presented him with a watch, and Primeau also received gifts from the Flyers. Primeau choked on his words on his first sentence and needed to stop and compose himself several times during his speech. Primeau’s eyes filled with tears when he talked about the fans. Snider was booed during his video tribute. Snider said Primeau’s presence “has been sorely missed since he was forced to retire.” Primeau spent six years with the Flyers.