The Flyers’ victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday was made even sweeter by a surprise visit from teammate Oskar Lindblom.
Diagnosed in December with Ewing’s sarcoma, Lindblom’s presence brought an extra bounce to a locker room that already was enjoying its first three-game winning streak in two months.
“It was great to see him. I haven’t seen him in a couple of weeks," said Carter Hart, fresh off running his home record to 16-2-2 this season. “I’m sure he was happy to come to the rink and see the boys.”
Lindblom declined to speak to the media, but he was presented with the ceremonial player-of-the-game helmet by his teammates.
“He’s a big part of this team,” Hart continued. “It’s nice to have him in the locker room.”
Lindblom’s equipment still hangs in its usual stall at the Wells Fargo Center, a symbolic sign that his helmet and pads are simply waiting for him. His teammates agreed that Lindblom “looked great.”
The 23-year-old forward was off to a terrific start with 11 goals in 30 games before receiving the news. If there’s optimism to be had, Lindblom has the same cancer beaten by former area football player Mark Herzlich.
“That smile, you know?” said defenseman Justin Braun. “He’s a great guy to have around. 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."
It is believed that Lindblom was last at the Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 11, when the Flyers lost to Tampa Bay. They are 12-4-1 since, with Saturday’s win moving them within three points of first place. It’s the closest they’ve been since early October.
“It’s awesome seeing him,” said Sean Couturier, who scored his 19th goal of the season and extended his point streak to six games. “He’s going through a lot, and we’re there for him. Anytime we can hang out with him, it’s always nice.”