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Flyers' Travis Konecny benched; Raffl, Gordon, Manning back in lineup

SAN JOSE -- In a surprising move, speedy rookie left winger Travis Konecny, who had two assists in Wednesday's 6-3 loss in St. Louis, is being benched Friday against San Jose.

It is the first benching of the season for Konecny, who has four goals, 14 assists, 18 points, and a minus-2 rating in 37 games.

Konecny is tied for fifth in assists among NHL rookies. He has not scored a goal in the last 22 games.

Coach Dave Hakstol said that he wanted Konency to use the benching as a learning experience, and that he needs to improve "little things" with and without the puck.

"It's all part of the game and part of the learning process," said Konecny, 19, who stayed on the ice for about 40 extra minutes after the starters left on Friday in San Jose.

As for his two-assist performance against the Blues, Konecny said, "it doesn't really matter what I did in the game. It's a matter of the little details I haven't been doing. It's a good opportunity for me tonight to watch, learn, and fix parts of my game and hopefully come right back into the lineup."

Konecny said Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn were among the teammates who gave him words of encouragement when they learned he would be a healthy scratch.

"They both had had their day; they've had their opportunity to sit out, and look at them. They're some of the top players in the league," Konecny said. "Everyone goes through it, so it's just an opportunity for me to learn."

"I'm not going to get down on myself," Konecny said. "I worked hard out here today. I'm going to keep myself in shape."

Konency said it would be beneficial to watch the game from the press box.

"The game kind of slows down when you're up top and you get a chance to see the different angles," he said.

In other moves, left winger Michael Raffl will return to the lineup after missing one game with a knee injury, and defenseman Brandon Manning will replace Radko Gudas, who suffered an undisclosed minor injury against St. Louis and is listed as day to day.

Boyd Gordon will return to the lineup and replace Roman Lyubimov.

Raffl will go back on the top line, with Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek. Taylor Leier is expected to play in Konecny's second-line spot. Gordon will probably play on the fourth line, centered by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.

Steve Mason will make his 20th start in the last 22nd games and will oppose rookie Aaron Dell (3-1, 2.16 GAA, .926 save percentage), who played for Hakstol at North Dakota.

Dell said he "a little extra motivation" to face Hakstol. "He recruited me to UND and it would be a little sweet to beat him after that. He gave me a chance there and let me kind of grow as a player and as a person."

The Flyers have lost four of their last five. San Jose has won seven of its last eight.