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Ah, Foppa — or the man the rest of the world called Peter Forsberg. He is one of the most popular players to ever wear burgundy and blue — people who wouldn’t know Matt Duchene from Semyon Varlamov (they do exist) have heard of Peter Forsberg.
Forsberg is a legend for a reason. In 708 regular-season games, he scored 249 goals and 636 assists for 885 points. He was a regular points producer — he ranks eighth all-time for points-per-game — 1.25 points-per-game. He ranks fifth all-time in the NHL for assists per game — 0.898.
As the legends always do, Forsberg shone in the playoffs. In 151 career playoff games, he scored 64 goals and 107 assists for a total of 171 points.
That first magical year in Colorado saw him get off to a good start. Game 2 of the 1996 NHL playoffs saw Peter Forsberg’s playoff hat trick — in the Stanley Cup Finals, no less. He scored a pure hat trick, by the way, since all three goals came in the first period.
Just five minutes into that Stanley Cup Finals game, Forsberg banked the puck off the back of Florida Panthers goalie John Vanbiesbrouck to put the Avalanche on the board. The crowd, naturally, went wild. (By the way, 18 years ago the people were waving the same white pompoms that were giveaways for last year’s playoff games.)
Forsberg had been aiming for fellow forward Adam Deadmarsh, but it caromed off of Panthers defenseman Rhett Warrener — and right back to Foppa. So, he played a little pool to sneak the goal past Vanbiesbrouk. Genius.
Later, with a little over six minutes to go in the period, the Avalanche were on the power play. Forsberg, Joe Sakic and Deadmarsh passed it around a couple times before Forsberg just blasted the shot at the net. Vanbiesbrouk barely seemed to register the puck before it shot behind him into the net.
A minute-and-a-half later, with the Avalanche on another power play, Sakic shot the puck at the net. Vanbiesbrouk made the save, but the puck flew over the net and hit the glass.It bounced to Deadmarsh who couldn’t quite clean up the garbage, as Matt Duchene likes to put it.
Never mind — Forsberg was in perfect position. As the puck wobbled in the air, Forsberg swatted it in as if it were a pesky fly. The puck went in top corner. You almost felt sorry for Vanbiesbrouk — there was nothing he could have done.
The hats came flying down onto the ice, as well they should.