PHILADELPHIA – First he dives in front of a 100-mile-an-hour Dmitry Orlov cannon blast, then drops the gloves to take on the 20-pounds heavier T.J. Oshie.
All in a day’s work for the 5-foot-10, 175-pound whirling dervish who answers to the name Travis Konecny.
To say the Flyers drew energy from Konecny’s efforts in Sunday’s 6-3 win over Washington would be an understatement.
As if it wasn’t brave enough to risk life and limb with his shot-blocking antics, Konecny exchanged blows with Oshie, which brought the Flyers’ bench to its feet.
“Those are the things you have got to do to win in a playoff style type of setting,’’ coach Dave Hakstol said. “Those shot blocks at the start of the third period, those are the things you have to do. It gives the bench a good injection of life, they love it, guy’s love to see that on the bench.
“The importance of going out there and being willing to step in front of those types of pucks, it shouldn’t be out of the ordinary for a team. I think that’s what our guys expect, but it’s always great when you see one guy doing it.”
Indeed. Konecny’s in-your-face attitude is the type of personality that any NHL team would covet. For 50 years, going back to the Broad Street Bullies, it’s been the Flyer way. . .never back down, no matter how big the size of the dog in the fight.
Wayne Simmonds, no slouch himself when it comes to mixing it up, smiled when asked about Konecny’s courage, both in the Oshie tussle and the Orlov shooting gallery.
“That’s what winners are made of,’’ Simmonds said. “That’s the type of effort we’re going to need. He blocks the shot, comes off, then he battles the guy who’s probably 20 pounds heavier. That was a real emotional lift for the team in the third period.’’
Konecny was rather matter-of-fact about the whole thing. He’s been on this stage before, so he takes the attention in stride.
He admits it’s going to be tough to get out of bed on Monday.
“I was just trying to do my best to get in the lane,’’ he said of the Orlov shot.
“Yeah, I’ll need the day tomorrow to recover for sure, but I have a feeling that’s the way the body is going to feel from here on out.’’
A good trade-off though for a positive weekend. On Saturday night, he scored his 19th goal, a critical one, in the Flyers’ 4-2 win at Carolina.
“You know it feels so good coming out of this back to back with two points and it’s just huge for our team right now to be building that confidence,’’ he said, “and playing these teams that we need to get wins against.’’