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Forsberg to make season debut

Peter Forsberg has played 706 NHL games. Playing in his first Colorado Avalanche game in three years, however, has him a bit on edge.

"I'm excited and nervous," Forsberg said after the morning skate leading up to Friday's game at the Columbus Blue Jackets. "I don't know how it's going to go, but I'm going to be skating with two great players, so hopefully they can help me out a little bit out there."

The 37-year-old Forsberg was put on the same line with center Matt Duchene and right wing Milan Hejduk. He'll wear his familiar No. 21 Colorado sweater.

The Swedish star has not played in the NHL since 2007-08, forced to end his career in North America due to a right foot injury. He played last year in the Swedish Elite League.

Forsberg began practicing Jan. 22 to see if he was physically able to play. He agreed to a contract on Sunday and was cleared to play on Friday after ironing out some lingering immigration paperwork.

"I like playing hockey and I want to see if I can play at this level again," Forsberg said. "This will be a good test tonight and I'm not really sure how it will go."

He helped the Avalanche win two Stanley Cups during 11 seasons with the franchise. He captured the 2003 Hart Trophy, leading the league with 106 points (29 goals and 77 assists) in 75 games.

A two-time Olympic gold medalist, Forsberg has 249 goals and 636 assists in 706 career NHL games.

Colorado has lost its last five games and its hopes of making the playoffs have dimmed.

"It will be an emotional spark for us," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said of Forsberg's return.