Brayden McNabb

Questionable hit on Oskar Lindblom should be added frustration for Flyers

Questionable hit on Oskar Lindblom should be added frustration for Flyers

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Through two home games, the Flyers have already dealt with two different levels of frustration.

The first was obvious. An 8-2 loss in the home opener explains it quite clearly. The Flyers were incensed by the result and wanted to make certain their next showing at the Wells Fargo Center was, at the least, acceptable.

The frustration Saturday wasn't just from playing a "hell of game," as head coach Dave Hakstol put it, to only lose in the final minute and half of regulation, 1-0 (see observations).

What should have ticked off the Flyers just as much was the hit on Oskar Lindblom midway through the third period. 

While the Flyers were in the offensive zone, Lindblom lost the puck along the side boards with Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb in coverage. As Lindblom stopped to retreat, McNabb slammed him face-first into the boards and appeared to use his forearm up against Lindblom's head.

The 22-year-old winger stayed down on the ice as play eventually stopped. He was helped off and never returned over the final 9:20 of regulation. No penalty was called on the hit and as the replay was shown on the Jumbroton, Flyers fans went berserk.

The play certainly could have been whistled a penalty. These types of hits, in which the head is impacted, have been penalized before by NHL officials. At the same time, Lindblom is 6-foot-1 and not fully upright on the play, compared to the 6-foot-4 McNabb (see video).

Hakstol had a good take on the play:

The ref was in a good spot on it. I haven't looked at it on tape. That's a big guy hitting a smaller … Oskar's not as big as he is. From my vantage point, was it a high hit? Yeah. Was it a penalty? I don't know, [the officials are] standing right there. They're in a spot to make the call. I can go back and ref by video, I'll go back and take a look at it. It looked like it could have been a high hit, they were right there in position, so defer to their call.

It's a tough play all the way around and a non-call that hurt the Flyers. If it's whistled, the Flyers go on the power play with a chance at the game's first goal and all the momentum. Instead, their second-line left winger exits and doesn't return. 

And the Flyers can ill-afford more injuries up front. 

They're already without James van Riemsdyk (lower-body injury) for five to six weeks and Nolan Patrick (upper-body injury) for seven to 10 days. Travis Konecny left practice Friday after taking a puck to the skate but was able to play, albeit only 11:50, while Scott Laughton took a spill into the boards Saturday and departed momentarily.

After two power plays in the first period, the Flyers never went on the man advantage again. They didn't get the call in the third, nor could they crack Marc-Andre Fleury, who made four highlight-reel saves, simply adding to the Flyers' frustration.

Sometimes, these losses sting just as bad as the embarrassing ones.

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