Konecny tries to stay confident but scoring slump is ‘on my mind’

Travis Konecny

When you’re the regular-season goals leader for a hockey team and then produce zero in 13 postseason games, one might think the pressure would start to mount.

Yet if Travis Konecny is feeling any heat about his playoff scoring slump, he sure seems to be keeping his cool.

On Monday, Konecny was asked point-blank why there seems to be problem.

He’s skating with a talented center, Kevin Hayes. He’s getting plenty of power-play time. And he’s been in position around the net to score on countless occasions.

One thing is for certain: If Konecny doesn’t get untracked and the Flyers come up short on Tuesday night in a win-or-go-home Game 5 against the Islanders, it’s going to be a long summer.

“There are other ways to contribute to winning hockey games,’’ Konecny said during a Zoom call from Toronto. “I know as of late the series doesn’t look that way.

“It (lack of offensive production) is on my mind, trying to produce a little bit more, increasing my finishing around the net a little bit more. I still feel like I’m skating hard, working hard, getting my linemates opportunities. It’s obviously on my mind and I’m trying. The bounces just haven’t gone my way. I’ve had plenty of good looks, they’re just not going in for me right now. But I’m going to continue to work at it.’’

>Lindblom a possibility?

It might be considered a bold move to insert Oskar Lindblom back into the lineup, given he hasn’t played in a game since early December.

But these are desperate times and maybe the Flyers would think about a desperate measure.

Anything to get a spark for a sleepy offense which has produced just seven goals in four games.

The Flyers seemed to get a little energy just from having Lindblom take part in the pre-game skate on Sunday night.

They’ve said time and again they’ve been inspired by Lindblom, who is recovering from Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.

“Oskar brings a smile to everyone’s face,’’ Kevin Hayes said. “I had chills watching him skate around the ice yesterday. I’m sure he was feeling pretty emotional as well.

“To see what he’s gone through on a day-to-day basis and seeing him every once in a while throughout the season, it’s incredible. To see where he’s at right now is inspiring. He’s working hard to come back and it puts a lot of things in perspective. When you see Oskar, you want to work hard and give it everything you have.’’

Coach Alain Vigneault can’t speak about a player’s availability because of the NHL’s COVID protocols. But Lindblom does look good in practice.

“Just for him to be here, to be putting in the time and the effort, when I see a young man go through what he’s gone through and doing everything he possibly can to come back as quick as he can to help his teammates, I’m saying to the other guys what a great opportunity they have in front of them,’’ Vigneault said.

“Who knows? Maybe at some point Oskar will be ready to help us.’’

>Third period issues

The Flyers have been outscored by an 8-1 margin in the third periods of this series. For the playoffs, the Islanders hold a 19-5 edge in the final 20 minutes (including their series with Florida).

Are the New Yorkers that good down the stretch or are their opponents sort of crumbling when it matters most?

“It’s just those one or two mistakes,’’ Konecny said. “They end up in the back of your net. I mean, we have those same opportunities and they’re just not going in for us. Every time they get a chance it seems to end in a good result for them.’’

>Targeting Sanheim?

First it happened in the Montreal series: The Canadiens’ Jesperi Kotkaniemi plastered Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim face-first into the glass/boards.

Sunday, it was Cal Clutterbuck somewhat intentionally colliding with Sanheim, drawing just a two-minute penalty.

Are teams going after Sanheim for some reason?

“It’s a physical series,’’ Vigneault said. “Both teams are making sure when they have an opportunity to finish, they finish. There was no doubt that (Clutterbuck hit) was knee-on-knee.

“But Clutterbuck is a hard player, he plays hard. Walks that fine line between what’s legal and not legal. When he crosses the line, hopefully referees can see it.’’

Wayne Fish
About Wayne Fish 1093 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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