Travis Konecny has squashed any concerns that reporting late to training camp would hinder his play.
The Flyers’ kinetic right winger was in a contract dispute and missed the first four days of camp before signing a six-year, $33 million deal.
Konecny, who worked out in London, Ontario, while his agent negotiated with the Flyers, missed the first two exhibition games but was surprisingly sharp in his preseason debut Saturday against the New York Rangers.
On Monday in Boston, he continued to look like his old self, using his speed to create offense and scoring the Flyers’ first goal by converting James van Riemsdyk’s slick pass from behind the net. Sean Couturier’s forechecking put the sequence in motion.
“I was the last guy in the zone, so I wasn’t trying to dive in,” said Konecny, who finished with a team-high five shots. “JVR ended up with the puck and I just went to the scoring area and he put it on my tape.”
Boston defeated the Flyers (1-2-2) in overtime, 4-3, in an exhibition game. Jake DeBrusk scored a power-play goal for the winner after goalie Brian Elliott tried to cover the shot and it trickled through him. The Flyers argued the whistle had blown before the goal was scored, but it was to no avail.
Konecny said he felt better than in his preseason debut.
“I think I have a little bit more legs, but I’m still trying to find ways to not waste my energy by running around on useless plays, and trying to find that middle ground,” he said.
Early in the second period, Konecny set up van Riemsdyk on a two-on-one rush, but Boston goalie Tuukka Rask denied the left winger. On the ensuing rush down the ice, Brad Marchand finished off a two-on-one with David Pastrnak, putting the Bruins ahead, 2-1.
Defenseman Travis Sanheim was caught up ice, and Marchand capitalized.
Eight of the 20 Flyers players who dressed for Monday’s game were not assured of a spot on the opening-night roster.
Of those on-the-bubble eight, wingers Connor Bunnaman, Carsen Twarynski and Nic Aube-Kubel were the most active players. Twarynski, who had a goal and seven shots in Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Rangers, tied Monday’s game at 2-2 with relentless work in front of the net. With 15:18 left in the third, he eventually knocked in a rebound on his second try.
“I came to camp in better shape,” said Twarynski, 21, a third-round draft selection in 2016 who had a modest 10 goals with the AHL’s Phantoms last season. The Flyers drafted the hard-nosed Twarynski with the pick they received (along with Jordan Weal) in a salary-dump trade that sent Vincent Lecavalier and Luke Schenn to Los Angeles.
“Practices are high tempo with AV (Alain Vigneault), and they’re tough, so I was excited just to get into games finally," he added. "It’s been a while since last season to show what a player can do in a game situation, so I think my camp so far has been strong, and I have to keep going game by game.”
Bunnaman’s camp has also been strong, and his power-play goal made it 3-2 with 13:14 remaining as his pass deflected off Boston forward Trent Frederic and into the net.
Andy Andreoff, German Rubtsov, Samuel Morin, and Mark Friedman were the other players in the lineup who are battling for roster spots.
The Flyers are expected to send a handful of players to the AHL’s Phantoms on Tuesday. They play their final NHL exhibition Thursday against the host Rangers, and originally planned to have on-the-bubble forwards Morgan Frost and Joel Farabee in their lineup that night.
But Frost, a center, has a strained groin and will be sidelined five to seven days, general manager Chuck Fletcher said Monday. That might increase Rubtsov’s chances of landing a roster spot. Rubtsov, however, struggled Monday and was 0-for-7 in the faceoff circle.
With injured third-line center Nolan Patrick doubtful for the Oct. 4 season opener against Chicago in Prague, Rubtsov is a candidate to fill his spot, though Bunnaman (four shots) can play center or wing if he makes the team. Center Mikhail Vorobyev is a dark-horse candidate.
Scott Laughton, who entered camp penciled in as the fourth-line center, could move to the third unit while Patrick is sidelined.
Midway through Monday’s first period, the Bruins took a 1-0 first-period lead as 19-year-old Jakub Lauko, from a nearly impossible angle near the goal line, sent a short-side shot over Elliott’s shoulder. Elliott stopped 18 of 22 shots.
Carter Hart is scheduled to play the entire game Thursday against the Rangers. Hart is the leader in the clubhouse for the No. 1 goaltender spot, having turned aside all 25 shots he has faced in two appearances.