WASHINGTON - Travis Konecny is the hottest goal scorer in Washington D.C. right now, and considering that also includes Alex Ovechkin and his 588 career goals, that's a significant statement for the Flyers' second-year forward.
Konecny, currently on a four-game goal streak, is looking to pick up right where he left off prior to the All-Star break, and right now that means sticking with the routine. Despite the heavy workload that lies ahead on the Flyers' schedule, Konecny was on the ice for Wednesday's optional morning skate whereas a handful of veterans usually elect for the rest.
"Honestly, if I wake up and I feel like I need one, I'll definitely take one," Konecny said. "I'll probably take one going into the last stretch here, but as of now, I feel good when I step out on the ice and it's good to shoot the puck around a little bit."
Konecny returns to D.C., where he "capitalized" on his overtime opportunity playing alongside Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov. It was the first of back-to-back OT winners, and impressively Konecny has provided the game-winning goal in four of the Flyers' last eight victories. It's all part of the evolution from a rookie negotiating his first season in the NHL to a second-year veteran who knows what to expect.
"I definitely feel good, more confident and what I need to do off the ice to be able to stay in right shape," Konecny said. "Our training staff has set us up pretty good as far as the way we take care of our body, the things we eat and what we put into our bodies."
Along with a half-dozen teammates, Konecny switched out his wrist shots for chip shots over All-Star weekend and enjoyed a two-day golf trip to the Miami area to play at the Trump National Doral and the course more famously known as "The Blue Monster."
As if navigating the final 33 games of the NHL's regular season wasn't challenging enough, Konecny along with Scott Laughton, Taylor Leier and Brandon Manning elected to play the 7,288-yard course from the back tees in 25-30 mile an hour winds. Leier said just breaking 90 on the scorecard was a challenge.
Rookie Nolan Patrick jokingly reasoned that Konecny's scoring touch also coincided when the two players were paired together on the road, which started a few weeks ago.
"Yeah, room with Nolan Patrick," Konecny said with a smile, "Ever since I've been with him the team's been doing well. We'll keep that going."
Ovie tops 100 MPH
If it wasn't obvious before, Capitals superstar sniper Alex Ovechkin proved at the All-Star festivities that he possesses one of the hardest shots in the NHL, as he won the hardest shot competition for the first time in his 13-year career. Ovechkin had claimed the title after his first attempt, but chose to take another crack at topping triple digits. Ovechkin uncorked a drive at 101.3 mph and Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth definitely took notice.
"I watched the skills (contest) and I played with Alex for five years, and I know a lot of times he's just shooting as hard as he can and shooting at the net," Neuvirth said, "Sometimes he doesn't even know where he's shooting and that's why he's so good, because there's no way you can stop it even when the shooter doesn't know where it's going."
Stat of the Day
Regardless of tonight's outcomes around the league, the Flyers and the Bruins are the only two teams to record at least eight wins in each of the past two months. The Flyers finished December with an 8-4-1 mark and they enter the final game of January with an 8-3-0 record.
More importantly, the Flyers are 5-2-4 in the Metropolitan Division as they've earned points in all but two of their 11 divisional contests.
"Every point is critical. That's probably an understatement," said head coach Dave Hakstol, "It comes back to doing everything within your power to gain points night in and night out, regardless of the situation and regardless of the opponent."
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