Koneckny jelling with teammates
PHILADELPHIA >> Shortly after the Flyers’ biggest victory of the young season and perhaps Travis Konecny’s most memorable moment of his young life Tuesday night, the 19-year-old rookie was basking in the afterglow of it all.
Konecny had scored his first NHL goal 4:30 into what would become a three-goal third period for the Flyers, and in a game that would result in a stunning 4-3 shootout victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Yet amid all the excitement he felt afterward, Konecny made sure to give credit where he thought credit was due... Elsewhere. “I’m just excited that it happened,” Konecny said after the Flyers’ excavation from a three-deep hole, leveling their record at 3-3-1 heading into a home game Thursday night against Arizona. “But the thing for me that was more exciting was coming back after that 3-0 (deficit); an overall exciting night for us.”
Konecny has had an impressive start to a season that at first looked like it might present one last junior hockey season for him. But he earned his major league stripes in training camp, along with a pledge from general manager Ron Hextall that if Konecny played up to snuff, this wasn’t going to be a temporary assignment prior to the deadline of when he’d have to be sent back to junior.
That deadline is after nine games. Through seven, it’s already clear Konecny, who has a goal and five assists, can feel pretty secure about staying.
“He has been an impact player,” coach Dave Hakstol said of Konecny. “Apart from the obvious things you see on the ice, I see a guy that is working hard on his game. He does that every day. He has got a good level of humility to him which I think endears him to the older guys in the room. He keeps his mouth shut and works and that’s a positive.”
True to form, while talking about the thrill of scoring his first goal — a tipin of a blast of a pass/shot from fellow 19-year-old rookie Ivan Provorov — Konecny quickly switched the conversation in the direction of his linemates, Jake Voracek and Sean Couturier.
“The credit has to go to Jakey and Coots for giving me that confidence game-in and game-out,” Konecny said.