For someone who’s been as consistent a goal scorer as Travis Konecny has been over the past few years, a 15-game drought might be less of a concern to him than you might think.
The Flyers’ talented right wing, who entered Thursday night’s game at San Jose having not scored since Nov. 18, showed no signs of worry over his six-week inability to hit the scoreboard while speaking on a pre-game media Zoom call from SAP Arena.
The fact the Flyers were 5-0-1 in their last six games no doubt alleviated any perceived pressure.
“If you’re not getting the looks and the chances, you start to reflect,’’ Konecny said. “I’ve looked at a lot of things and what I can do better. That’s a personal thing for me but right now, if you look at our last couple stretches of games, we’ve been building at what we want to do as a team. We’re playing a lot better and getting points out of games. That’s the main thing right now. It’s trending in the right direction. That’s the most important thing for me right now and the rest will take care of itself.’’
Interim head coach Mike Yeo indicated he spoke with Konecny on Thursday and some of the discussion was about just staying the course, keep playing the game the right way and the rewards will come.
“He’s such an important player for us,’’ Yeo said. “He’s created some momentum, created some scoring chances. The puck certainly hasn’t been going in for him. For TK, it’s a matter of time – he’s doing the right things and that’s what makes him such a dangerous player. A lot of those things are starting to show up in the games, in practices. He went through a stretch where he clearly didn’t have the confidence. I’m not saying he didn’t want the puck but he was getting rid of it rather quickly. I think now we’re seeing he wants possession, whether it’s in the offensive zone, tight turning, using his speed and skill to break players down.’’
Defenseman Justin Braun believes Konecny has too much talent to be contained much longer.
“You just have to kind of stick with it when you’re in a slump,’’ he said. “Do the little things, get in front of the net. Maybe not pass up opportunities, just get pucks on net. He’ll work through it. He’s got the ability to get back on track. Just keep working.’’
>Sandstrom making debut
Rookie goaltender Felix Sandstrom was pressed into making his NHL debut on Thursday night because Martin Jones had played the previous night in Seattle and Carter Hart remains on the COVID-19 list.
When a goalie is starting his first NHL game, there’s a tendency for a team’s defense to sort of circle the wagons and play a simple, lower-risk game.
“You don’t want to leave your goalie out to dry,’’ Braun said. “We have to be much better defensively (than in Seattle). Make the plays that are there, not try to get too fancy.’’