For Travis Konecny, maintaining his scoring while trying to improve his defense has been a challenging balancing act.
After collecting five goals and firing 12 shots on goal in his first five games, the 23-year-old Flyers right winger has virtually vanished from the score sheet, and has even been a healthy scratch in one contest because coach Alain Vigneault was unhappy with his defensive play.
In his last seven games, Konecny has no goals, one assist, and a combined four shots.
“I think he’s trying to put it all together,” Vigneault said after practice Monday in Washington. “He’s trying to forecheck properly, be on the right side of his check. He’s trying to move his feet. He’s at his best when he’s moving his feet and he’s bringing energy and getting pucks to the net and getting himself to the net.”
Konecny said he was “trying to focus on playing the right way and being effective. That doesn’t always mean being in the score sheet. Those things come with playing the right way.”
In other words, he’s not worried about his scoring drought.
”Even though it doesn’t happen right away, you get rewarded just from doing the right things consistently,” he said. “That’s what I’m trying to do, trying to focus on just being in the right spots. ... Focus on the little things in the D zone and make sure there are no chances I’m giving up against, and I think the other stuff will take care of itself eventually.”
Konecny was one of the last ones off the ice at practice Monday.
“He’s working at his game extremely hard,” Vigneault said. “Like I’ve said, I believe he’s one of my top three forwards when he’s at the top of his game, and it’s my job to get him to be at the top of his game.”
Sanheim still out
Defenseman Travis Sanheim, sidelined from Sunday’s 7-4 win in Washington because of the league’s COVID-19 protocols, did not practice Monday and will not play Tuesday, according to Vigneault.
The Flyers had an earlier-than-usual wake-up call to get their COVID-19 tests Sunday morning. “I think it’s the first time, at least in the NHL, that I’ve ever been up at 6:15 a.m. for a hockey game,” Konecny said.
Two more games postponed
The Flyers’ home games Thursday and Saturday against New Jersey have been postponed, the NHL announced. The Devils have been hit hard by COVID-19. No new dates were announced.
As it currently stands, the Flyers will face the host Capitals on Tuesday and then won’t play again until Sunday in New York against the Rangers.
Tip of the hat
The Flyers’ power play is just 2-for-18 (11.1%) over the last six games, but the team is 4-1-1 in that span. ... Claude Giroux has more career goals against the Caps (22 in 46 games) than any NHL team. ... The Flyers were 6-3-2 while Sean Couturier was sidelined, including the game in which he played just 45 seconds.