As Islanders players went through the handshake line with the Flyers, they probably had more to say than just "good game, good series" to Oskar Lindblom.
Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in mid-December and finished his radiation treatments in early July. Two months later, he was playing in must-win games for the Flyers in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Having not played since Dec. 7 as he battled his cancer fight, the 24-year-old Swedish native returned to the Flyers' lineup in Game 6 of his team's best-of-seven second-round series against the Islanders. With a 5-4 double-overtime win, the Flyers forced a Game 7. Lindblom was in the lineup again Saturday night, but the Flyers' attempt to overcome a 3-1 series deficit fell short as New York commandingly won Game 7, 4-0, at Scotiabank Arena.
Islanders head coach Barry Trotz, who led the Capitals to a Stanley Cup championship in 2018 and has impressively turned around New York, wanted to make a statement postgame before talking about his team's run to the Eastern Conference Final.
Lindblom, a soft-spoken, team-first player, didn't want to make much about his return fresh off the Flyers' season coming to an end.
“I just want to help the team win games," Lindblom said. "It doesn’t matter if I play or someone else plays, if it can help the team win games, I’m happy. Didn’t do that today, so it doesn’t matter really. I just want to get back on track and start a new season here.”
The end of the 2019-20 season stung for the Flyers. Lindblom's comeback should soften the blow.
"It’s a great story, it’s an inspiration," Sean Couturier said. "He battled hard. I’m sure even if we didn’t get the result, he enjoyed being back with us and going to battle with us.”