Oskar Lindblom closed last season with four goals in his final five games. He was probably the only guy who didn’t want the season to end.
He said that burst propelled him into 2019-20 where he was tied for the team lead in goals before his cancer diagnosis. Here’s a timeline of his remarkable season.
Oct. 4: Lindblom starts the season on the left wing of Sean Couturier’s line, opposite Travis Konecny. Takes a cross-ice pass from Konecny and buries his first goal of the season in the opening-day win over Chicago in Prague, Czech Republic.
Oct. 24: Lindblom scores his fifth goal in eight games as the Couturier line continues to be the Flyers’ best. “I’m playing with great players who give good passes,” says Lindblom, who scored on a two-on-one off a feed from Konecny. “With that pass, I was pretty sure I was going to get it on net. Those goals are greasy, but I like this.”
Oct. 29: He scores the Flyers’ only goal in a 7-1 defeat at Pittsburgh, the worst loss of the season.
Nov. 16: He scores his ninth goal and has a beautiful assist on a goal by Couturier in an otherwise disappointing shootout loss to the Islanders. “He has the ability to make those good passes,” Couturier says, “and it was a sick play.” Through 20 games, Lindblom is leading the club in goals and his 16 points are three behind Konecny.
Nov. 19: Coach Alain Vigneault replaces Konecny with Jake Voracek on the Couturier line in an effort to get Voracek going. He keeps Lindblom and Couturier together.
Nov. 29: Lindblom breaks a modest five-game point slump with a goal at Detroit.
Nov. 30: He deflects a shot by Justin Braun past Montreal’s Keith Kinkaid for his 11th and final goal of the season. The night is most memorable, however, for Ivan Provorov’s stunning overtime game-winner. The Flyers went 10-2-4 to set a team record for most points in November.
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Dec. 7: Lindblom plays nearly 18 minutes in a spirited win over Ottawa. Konecny suffers a concussion after a mid-ice collision with Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki.
Dec. 11: The Flyers start a three-game road trip with a dismal loss to Colorado. Konecny and, curiously, Lindblom do not play.
Dec. 13: The Flyers announce that Lindblom, 23, has Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare cancer that is diagnosed 250 times annually in the United States, mostly in people ages 10-20. Lindblom, who is tied with Konecny for the team lead with 11 goals, will begin treatment at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Dec. 17: Konecny returns to the lineup as the Flyers thump Anaheim in their first home game since Lindblom’s diagnosis. Fans hold #OskarStrong signs and cheer wildly during a first-period video tribute as Lindblom looks on from the Flyers’ executive suite. “We wanted to get this win for him,” captain Claud Giroux says, “and every win for the rest of the season will be for him.”
Jan. 7: The Flyers end a dismal road trip by rallying for a point in an overtime loss at Carolina. They are 5-7-1 without Lindblom after going 17-8-5 when he was in the lineup.
Feb. 22: Lindblom makes a surprise visit to the locker room following a win over Winnipeg. He is presented with the ceremonial player of the game helmet. “That smile, you know?” says defenseman Justin Braun. “He just brightens your day. The fact that he’s doing well and able to come to the rink is just fantastic. ... It always cheers the boys up to see him.”
March 9: Lindblom shows up in the morning for the team picture. Two days later, the season stops because of the pandemic.
June 23: He skates with teammates at the Flyers’ practice facility in Voorhees (video).
July 2: He rings the symbolic bell of hope after his final chemotherapy treatment at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. “I’m just happy that I’m alive,” he says.
July 16: Lindblom is named one of three finalists for the Masterton Trophy, given to an NHL player who exhibits exceptional perseverance and spirit.
July 22: The Flyers announce that Lindblom will be part of their 31-member postseason roster and that they have given their pending restricted free agent a three-year, $9 million contract.
Aug. 11: General manager Chuck Fletcher tells 97.5-The Fanatic that Lindblom has joined the team in Toronto.
Aug. 16: Lindblom participates in the morning skate ahead of Game 3 against the Canadiens. Though he still needs several weeks to build up his game conditioning, his presence out there was another step forward.
Aug. 30: Participates in the warmups prior to Game 4 against the Islanders, but is not yet ready for the active lineup.