Travis Konecny walked through the player’s entry door at the Wells Fargo Center a little more than an hour before their morning skate. He walked down the hall towards the player’s room and started to get prepared as he would any other time.
Then head coach Dave Hakstol approached him with that game’s lineup.
“We’re moving you up to the top line,” Hakstol told his 19-year-old forward.
Here he was, just seven NHL games under his belt, being told he was going to be paired with Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek.
“It was definitely really cool,” Konecny said. “I’m obviously still in the stage where I’m like ‘Oh god, it’s Giroux and Voracek.’ Any line you’re going to play on in the NHL, you’re going to be playing with good players. I just have to relax and be confident in my game and now be so starstruck all the time.”
That turned out to be the second of a few different “first moments” for Konecny that week.
Prior to his promotion — which lasted just a few days until Brayden Schenn regained his top line form — Konecny picked up a goal that every player remembers: his first.
With his team down 3-0 with momentum fully on Buffalo’s side, Konecny stepped in front of an Ivan Provorov shot that found his blade, redirecting below the goalie’s glove. It turned out that impressive goal sparked the Flyers three-goal rally and eventual shootout victory for the full two points.
Lost in the excitement of his first goal — a moment he says is right up there with any other achievement he’s had — was just how impressive of a score it was. Deflections are something Konecny has really spent a lot of hours working on.
“In junior hockey I wasn’t much of a “deflect in the crease” kind of guy but I realized at this level a lot of times if you’re going to score goals you have to be in front of the net,” Konecny said.