Philadelphia -- Kris Versteeg has had a quiet ride so far as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. In 27 regular season games he had 11 points and he was a plus player, which was expected. The thinking had to be let’s get him for the playoffs, he really ramps it up at playoff time. Well so far in four playoff games he has just two points. Sure he’s playing a different role but he’s on a line with captain Mike Richards and they have had some chemistry.
Last season the Lethbridge, Alberta product had 14 points in 22 games for the Chicago Blackhawks who happened to beat the Flyers as they managed to clinch their Cup on Wachovia Center ice. Versteeg was a big part of that club and now he has that look in his eye where he looks like he is ready to step up, much like Ville Leino last season, to help the Flyers win a very important Game 5 against the Buffalo Sabres to wrestle back their home-ice advantage.
“We’re excited about tomorrow night’s game,” he said at one point and then he got a bit more serious, when I asked him about that home-ice advantage. “Oh yeah, you gotta go get it back,” he said in a nano-second. “This is a huge game for both teams and like I said before it’s a brink-of-elimination game.”
He talked about the experienced players that Buffalo had but it was the experience that he had that I felt was coming through loud and clear. With Jeff Carter out with a knee injury his offense with be counted on like never before this season.
Chris Pronger should make it back for this one in a limited role and no power play time. Andreas Nodl still has a head injury and may play tomorrow night, if not I would expect Eric Wellwood to get some minutes.
*Brian Campbell celebrating in Philadelphia last June, photo by del Tufo.
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