PHILADELPHIA – If you’re going to wait 14 games to score you’re first NHL goal, you might as well make it an important one.
And that’s exactly what rookie Oskar Lindblom did on Sunday, putting a puck in the net for the first time at 18:19 of the second period to break a 1-1 tie and send the Flyers to a 6-3 win over the Washington Capitals.
Lindblom, recalled from Lehigh Valley last month, had been getting a number of good scoring chances.
But the puck just wasn’t going in and he admits it was beginning to frustrate him a little bit.
Sunday, things changed. A nice set-up pass from Jake Voracek allowed Lindblom, a fifth-round draft pick out of Sweden, to finally convert.
Later, he was given the coveted “Nature Boy’’ robe for team-voted player of the game.
Now maybe he can down to business again, meaning the level of play he had with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
“I don’t want to think about it (the first goal) anymore,’’ he said. “Got my first one today and it was a huge one for the game. Felt good.’’
He seems to have developed some chemistry with linemate Jake Voracek. It was Voracek who set up Lindblom for the go-ahead goal.
Staying positive through the drought was important.
“You know, play your game, knowing eventually it will come,’’ Lindblom said. “I think about how I can’t stop playing my game, just need to go to the net every time and try to get a puck in. It was a good feeling.’’
As for the goal, it was one for the scrapbook.
“I saw Jake got a puck and I felt like I was about to get the puck,’’ he said. “Then the puck was wobbling a little bit so I got a knuckle-puck (shot). I’ll take everything.’’
Voracek has been a big help.
“He’s been in this league for a long time now,’’ Lindblom said. “He knows what’s going on. He talks to me a lot. Tried to calm me down a little bit. It’s good for me.’’
Wayne Simmonds summed up what almost all the Flyers were thinking: Good for Lindblom. He deserved it.
“Really hard (pulling for him),’’ Simmonds said. “He’s played well every single game. He got his first assist (in Carolina on Saturday), his first goal tonight. . .long overdue.
“He does a lot of things the right way. All the boys were really happy for him.’’