Saddled with the league’s worst record, the Flyers may be without Forsberg on Saturday when they meet the Northeast Divison-leading Buffalo Sabres at the Wachovia Center.
Forsberg, second on the Flyers (3-11-1) with five goals and tied for second with only nine points, missed practice Friday with the flu.
“To be honest, if you’re going to win games, your best players have got to be your best players and I’m definitely not a good player right now,” he said. “I’ll take the blame for not doing the right things, but I’m not the only guy out there though.”
Days after a 9-1 loss Oct. 17 to the Sabres—a game in which goaltender Robert Esche gave up six second-period goals—the Flyers fired coach Ken Hitchcock, replacing him with John Stevens. The team also accepted general manager Bobby Clarke’s resignation, hiring Paul Holmgren as his replacement.
The changes haven’t helped much. Philadelphia has lost four straight and five of seven since Stevens took over Oct. 26.
“We’ve been talking about turning it around for a long time now. New start, new coach, everything. We’ve had a lot of chances to turn it around,” Forsberg said.
Simon Gagne’s team-high eighth goal of the season with just over 2 minutes to play helped Philadelphia avoid a shutout Thursday in a 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders, the 12th straight game the Flyers have been held to three or fewer goals.
“A win (over the Sabres) would be something to build around,” Gagne said Friday. “But it’s going to be a long 60 minutes. They’re going to come at us hard. They don’t care about what’s going on around us. They’re going to try to kill us again.”
Over the last three games against the Sabres, including the postseason, the Flyers have been outscored 19-2.
Buffalo (13-1-1), which will try to extend its league-record eight-game road winning streak at the start of a season, is coming off a 5-4 overtime win Friday against Florida.
Thomas Vanek scored his second goal of the game 19 seconds into the extra session. Earlier in the game, he failed to convert a penalty shot.
“Any time you have a chance to do something for your team, and you miss the opportunity, you’re extra motivated to go out there and make up for it,” Vanek said. “I was able to do that.”
The Sabres erased another two-goal deficit in the contest, the sixth time this season they’ve done so.
“Down 2-0, we started to roll,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.
Buffalo, though, is a banged-up team. Starting goaltender Ryan Miller (lower body muscle strain), forward Maxim Afinogenov (upper body injury) and defenseman Henrik Tallinder (broken arm) all missed this contest.
In last month’s rout of the Flyers, Miller made 36 saves, Afinogenov added a goal and four assists, and Tallinder—who is expected to be out until January— also chipped in a goal.
The Sabres have outscored their opponents 29-17 on the road.