Tuesday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning serves as the Flyers’ Hockey Fights Cancer night. For winger Oskar Lindblom, the occasion is a reminder of how precious life is.

In the midst of a career season (11 goals in 30 games), Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, on Dec. 13, 2019. Less than a year later, Lindblom completed chemotherapy treatments on July 2, 2020, and returned to the team for two playoff games in September.

“I went through it, and I got out on the good side,” Lindblom said. “Some people don’t. So you have to look at life in a good way and try to have fun on the way. I mean, enjoy it and love the people around you. That’s the only thing I think about.”

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Now, after winning the Masterton Memorial Trophy last season for his perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey, Lindblom is focused on reaching his full potential with the Flyers in 2021-22. Coach Alain Vigneault has lauded Lindblom’s effort this season and his ability to do “a lot of the right things on the ice.” However, Lindblom has yet to find the back of the net and was given a “reset” by Vigneault on Tuesday night when he was a healthy scratch against the Calgary Flames.

“I feel like I’ve played pretty good,” Lindblom said. “I’ve got good chances and all that. Haven’t really gotten the puck in, but I think that’s going to come if I keep doing the things I’m doing out there. So hopefully tonight can be a good night to score my first one.”

Lightning strikes

On the morning of March 12, 2020, the Flyers were on the road in Tampa, getting ready to take on the Lightning that evening at Amalie Arena. Then the league shut down at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in North America and forced the Flyers to make the trip home to Philadelphia.

A year and a half later, the Lightning have two consecutive Stanley Cups to their name. Now, the Flyers will play their first regular-season game against the Lightning since the shutdown and have an opportunity to see how they stack up with the reigning champions.

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“That team has evolved through the years, from two years ago and from the team that won the Cup last year,” Vigneault said. “But they’re the Stanley Cup champions and they’re still one of the best teams on paper. So for us, it’s a great opportunity.”

Despite the absence of 2018-19 Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov (lower-body injury, expected to miss at least another month), the Lightning still boast plenty of talent. Forward Alex Killorn has earned a point in nine of the Lightning’s last 10 games (five goals, seven assists) and currently possesses the second-longest active assist streak in the NHL (four games).

With a goal scored in three of the Lightning’s last four games, captain Steven Stamkos is tied for 14th in the NHL in goals (eight) and tied for fifth in power-play goals (four). Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who will start against the Flyers, has allowed two or fewer goals in seven consecutive starts.

“It kind of measures where you’re at,” defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen said. “They won the last two years, so they beat the best team in the league. So obviously you want to challenge and beat them.”


Vigneault would not reveal the lines in advance of Thursday night’s game because of a potential additional scratch. Although he would not divulge who might not play, Vigneault said that center Kevin Hayes (who came off of injured reserve on Nov. 13) and Cam Atkinson (who took a maintenance day on Wednesday and missed practice) are good to go. ... Ryan Ellis, who was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 16 with a lower-body injury, is expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks, per Vigneault.