I had a feeling going into the SHL post-season that I might just be spending some more time writing about the incredible feats of Oskar Lindblom.
I was not mistaken.
Game one of the playoffs for Brynäs – a quarter-final match-up against Linköping – took place earlier today. Lindblom carried over his exquisite form from the last two months of the season – where he had 11 goals and 16 points in the final 15 games – into the playoffs.
He did not wait long to make his presence felt. Less than 30 seconds into the first shift of the game Lindblom charged into the offensive zone on the forecheck and harassed an opposition player into a turnover.
Canadian linemate Kevin Clark quickly dealt the puck to center Jesper Jensen, who fired a great shot past opposition goalie Högberg into the net with Lindblom helping take his eyes away.
It was a sign of things to come.
Less than five minutes later the Flyers prospect was involved in putting his side up 2-0. On the power play he established his usual net-front presence and almost jammed a loose puck into the net. In the ensuing scramble the puck was chopped back to the point, and Gunderson laid Jensen up for a shot, which he scored on with another laser of a shot.
No assist on the play for the Gävle winger, but he certainly helped the goal to happen.
Later in the first period Lindblom almost got in on the goalscoring action himself. A dangerous rush up ice from him and Clark resulted in a 2-on-1, despite being knocked down in the race up ice Lindblom righted himself and got to the circle for a cross-ice pass from Clark. His one-time shot looked destined for the net, but is was brilliantly saved by the lunging goalie, who managed to use the inside of his blocker arm to turn the puck away.
Brynäs were 3-0 up after one period, and Lindblom had helped on two of the goals.
The start of the second period was not much different from the first. Brynäs dominated. Less than eight minutes into the middle stanza Lindblom got out on ice on a partial line change, he went to the net hard, received a puck from cross-ice on the edge of the crease, span, and tried to find Boqvist on the other side of the blue-paint.
It initially looked like it would be finding the net, the puck hit a defenseman, got under the goalie and rolled behind him, before changing course and heading across the crease. 2017 draft eligible forward Boqvist made no mistake and jammed the puck home.
The future Flyer got two more chances to score in the game, but was denied on both. He also impressed in the defensive zone, delivering a few nice hits and stripping pucks from opponents to start play up ice the other way. His board-work was also at times miraculous, on one shift he won five separate battles, and on multiple occasions fought off multiple opponents at the same time to win the puck.
Brynäs finished the game with a 6-0 victory. A statement game to say the least. If Lindblom and his linemates – who helped do half the damage in the game – can keep up their level of play going forward this quarter-final series will be over quickly.