The Philadelphia Flyers got a huge emotional lift on Sunday morning. Winger Oskar Lindblom rejoined his teammates on the ice for the first time in the Eastern Conference bubble in Toronto.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) August 16, 2020
One day after his 24th birthday, Lindblom has completed his quarantine requirements following a trip home to Sweden to celebrate the end of his successful treatments to fight Ewing’s sarcoma. He was diagnosed with the rare form of bone cancer last December.
There’s no timetable for Lindblom to get into game action. He said Sunday that he doesn’t want to dress unless he can help the team. But don’t be surprised if he’s in the lineup sooner rather than later.
Alain Vigneault said timeframe is tough to say for Oskar Lindblom's eventual return.
"Kid wants to play," Vigneault said.
— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) August 16, 2020
Simply having him back with the team should give the Flyers a much-needed boost after they suffered their first loss in the bubble against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday.
The 5-0 shutout defeat was ugly from top to bottom.
Montreal outshot Philadelphia 32-30 in the game, including 16-6 in the first period. They took an early 2-0 lead on goals by Tomas Tatar and Jesperi Kotkaniemi. In the second the Montreal power play went to work, and Tatar picked up his second of the game. When Joel Armia made it 4-0 with 2:03 left in the second period, Alain Vigneault sent Brian Elliott in to relieve Carter Hart, who made 22 saves in 37:57 of action.
In the third period, the Flyers lost their regular-season leading scorer, Travis Konecny, following this shot block.
#AnytimeAnywhere Travis Konecny blocked this shot from Chiarot in the 3rd … never returned.
— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@TheReplayGuy) August 14, 2020
There’s no official word from the team, but it looks like Konecny is in the video of the stretch after the morning skate, which suggests he could be back in the lineup for Game 3.
Change on D?
Don’t be surprised if defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere returns to the press box. Following a terrific two-assist effort in the Flyers’ final round-robin game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Gostisbehere has struggled against the determined Canadiens. He’s pointless so far in the series, despite six shots on goal, and was minus-2 in Game 2. Robert Hagg could swap back onto the third pairing with Justin Braun.
Because the Flyers have been on such a roll, any loss feels like a bit of a shock. But to come out so flat and get dusted so dramatically by the 12th-seeded Canadiens makes Friday’s defeat seem even more shocking.
Flyers Can Bounce Back
If there’s a silver lining for Flyers fans, it’s the fact that the club hasn’t lost back-to-back games since New Year’s — an 0-3-1 stretch between December 31 and January 7.
From that point on, Philadelphia went 19-6-1. Furthermore, an impressive victory followed every loss.
- Jan 11: 1-0 loss to Tampa Bay; Jan 13: 6-5 shootout win over Boston
- Jan 16: 4-1 loss to Montreal; Jan 18: 4-1 win over Los Angeles
- Jan 31: 4-3 overtime loss to Pittsburgh; Feb 1: 6-3 win over Colorado
- Feb 6: 5-0 loss to New Jersey; Feb 8: 7-2 win over Washington
- Feb 11: 5-3 loss to New York Islanders; Feb 13: 6-2 win over Florida
- Feb 15: 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay; Feb 18: 5-1 win over Columbus
- Mar 10: 2-0 loss to Boston; August 2: 4-1 win over Boston
With respect to current circumstances, two moments in particular stand out: the bounce back after a mid-January loss to Montreal and the solid recovery from the 5-0 loss to the Devils in early February.
After the Flyers’ loss on Friday, the Vegas Golden Knights are now the only unbeaten team in the 2020 NHL postseason. The top-seeded squad in the Western Conference is looking to sweep the Chicago Blackhawks and can advance to the second round with a win on Sunday.
The Flyers and Canadiens face off for Game 3 at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, on NBC and CBC/Sportsnet.