Peter Forsberg scored in his return to the Elitserien Feb. 12, but the night belonged to a Norwegian as MoDo strengthened its hold on the final playoff spot with a 4-1 win over Skellefteå.
Per-Åge Skrøder became the first MoDo player to amass 50 points in a season as he notched a goal and an assist to lead MoDo to its victory.
“It makes it special, to get this achievement and to see a great player like Forsberg score,” Skrøder said in an interview on MoDo TV. “The most important thing, though, is that we won the game. We’re one step closer to our goal of getting into the playoffs.”
Forsberg scored the opening goal of the game as MoDo dominated the first period. The former Colorado Avalanche and Philadelphia Flyers star beat Skellefteå goaltender Andreas Hadelov with a backhand shot at 15:21 of the first period after Oscar Steen dug out the puck and fed the seven-time All-Star in front of the goal. Skrøder picked up his first point of the night two minutes later when he and Niklas Sundström assisted on Mats Zuccarello Assen’s goal at 17:53.
Forsberg picked up his second point in his comeback Feb. 14 when he assisted on a goal in MoDo’s 4-4 tie with Djurgården. Skrøder had a goal and an assist in the game. After picking up his goal against Skellefteå, Forsberg admitted he “almost forgot how to score.”
“It was such a long time ago that I almost forgot what to do afterwards,” he said.
"This was much more nervous than my comeback with Colorado last season,” he said. "But I don't regret my choice. It's nice to be back in my MoDo jersey and to play again with all those great guys on the team. Also, it was great to get three important points for the team.”
Forsberg left MoDo 15 years ago for the NHL, disappointed after losing in the Swedish league finals. His next chance to win a Swedish title came in 2004-05 during the NHL lockout, but MoDo, studded with NHL players, failed and lost in the quarterfinals.
Now Forsberg is hoping for another Swedish title.
“My foot is OK, but I'm not really happy about what I did on the ice,” he said.
The injury-plagued Forsberg has been back on the ice in recent weeks to test his ailing right foot after surgery.
This was his first big game in 10 months. He played a minor league game last week.
“Peter made a really good comeback after what happened in the last few years,” MoDo coach Harri Rindell said. “After a pretty tough season he saw his team winning in a convincing way.”
While Forsberg was grabbing the spotlight, Färjestad was methodically cutting Linköping’s lead at the top of the standings. After losing 3-2 to last-place Södertälje on Feb. 12, the Wolfpack overwhelmed Frölunda 8-1 on Feb. 14 at the Löfbergs Lila Arena in Karlstad. At the same time, Linköping lost both of its games over that span, 6-1 to Brynäs in Gävle and 3-1 at home to Timrå in the Cloetta Arena.
Rickard Wallin led Färjestad to its win over the Chiefs, notching two goals and an assist while Dick Axelsson had a goal and assist and Jesper Jönsson and Michael Johansson each had two assists.
Färjestad raced out to a 6-0 lead, scoring three times in the first and three times in the second period. Frölunda got its lone goal at 3:55 of the third period when Fredrik Pettersson scored.
Färjestad met Linköping Feb. 16 at home in a game that could decide the top seed in the playoffs.
Peter Forsberg, center, celebrates after scoring in the first period Feb. 12 against Skellefteå. Bildbyrån photo/Robin Nordlund