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Welcome To The Travis Konecny Show: The Flyers Went Over To Europe And Won A Damn Hockey Game

NHL Global Series Challenge Prague - Chicago Blackhawks v Philadelphia Flyers

It was on March 23rd, 2018 that I wrote a blog titled “Brad Marchand Is The Floor For Travis Konecny’s Potential, Not The Ceiling”. Now I’ll admit that there was a fair share of hyperbole that went into that headline but the point I was trying to make is that Travis Konecny is the NHL’s next Brad Marchand, and there’s a chance he can be even better. He’s an absolute rat, he finds a way to piss off everybody he plays against, and to make everything that much worse? He is always one of the best players out there on the ice.

So to start off the 2019-20 season, TK did me a massive favor and made me look like the smartest man on the planet. Because not only did he score the Flyers’ first goal of the season off this beautiful steal and snipe.

But he also went on to score the nastiest goal of the season so far when he took 2x Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith out for a nice leisurely stroll before sniping the shit out of Crawford’s glove again, this time on the backhand.

Turns Duncan Keith inside out with that drag and then buries it top corn on the backhand. And that’s what Travis Konecny does. He’s always going to have an impact on the game. Whether it’s on the scoresheet or just having his mouth running a mile a minute, he’s an impact player. Thank god Konecny was an RFA this summer instead of next because if he didn’t need a new contract heading into this season, that deal would end up looking a helluva lot closer to Marner’s than it does right now at 6 years x $5.5M.

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Outside of the TK show, there really wasn’t much to not be happy about with this Flyers season opener. There were only 2 aspects of the game that I think they didn’t necessarily do a great job at, but I’m pretty sure those issues are both related to the quality of the ice. I don’t think the Flyers were great at hitting those big cross-ice passes and I don’t think they were great at getting the puck out of their own zone. But combine the fact that the ice looked choppy as shit and these are 4 brand new line combinations that will take time for the chemistry to build, I think they’ll be totally fine moving forward.

Let me say this right now though. That 2nd line? Woah baby. That 2nd line of Lindblom – Couturier – Konecny fucks and they fuck hard. That line gives me butterflies in my stomach. I know that the top line of Giroux – Hayes – Voracek is going to do their thing this year but that 2nd line stood out the most to me today. They were always creating chances, it seems like TK and Lindblom have a nice little connection going where they’re always looking for each other, and then Sean Couturier is a top 3 two-way center in the game. If the Flyers do everything that we expect them to do this season, that line is going to be huge.

Another line that stood out to me today was the 4th line. They were buzzing all game as well and I don’t remember a single shift where they were just trapped in their own end. Having a guy like Michael Raffl on that line is huge considering he’s a guy who has played everywhere in this Flyers lineup. He’s been a top line guy before, he’s spent plenty of time in the middle 6, and now on the 4th line? Well he gets to carry that line. He had a ton of chances early on in the game and he knew that the wraparound was there for him. He was winning the battles below the goalline but just couldn’t get them to drop. Until he decided to go the opposite way to his backhand and then Corey Crawford had the best seat in the house for the eventual game winner.

So the top line was able to cancel out Chicago’s top line, the 2nd line was dominant and the 4th line was dominant. I think that 3rd line of JvR – Laughton – Twarynski did an okay job out there but you have to remember that this forward group still gets to bring Nolan Patrick back up the middle, and then add guys like Joel Farabee and Morgan Frost if they need to. So the offensive depth that we all knew the Flyers had heading into the season was on full display in the opener.

As for the back end? Well I think that Matt Niskanen actually looked pretty good out there today. He had a great diving takeaway from Patrick Kane and seemed to be always in position for most of the game. Ghost didn’t stand out either good or bad, which is totally fine. Same with Sanheim (even though he goaded Shaw into a penalty which was great to see). Now Provorov and Braun both combined for a couple of shit mistakes on the Blackhawk’s first goal of the game

That’s an ill-advised turnover from Provorov. And Braun,,,,buddy, the fuck are you doing? Are you just going to keep skating backwards until you get to the goal line? Step up and have a little gap control there for me. I know that Alex Nylander has been a bit of a bust so far in his career but you still have to respect him a little bit. And I know that at first glance, that looks like a weak goal given up by Carter Hart. But that shot was sneaky as fuck from Nylander.

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Little curl to disguise the release, uses Braun as a screen and then fires that shot between his legs. That’s a big time shot from Alex Nylander and a difficult one to pick up from Carter Hart. I won’t go out saying that Carter Hart had an absolutely unbelievable game, but I also wouldn’t pin any of the Chicago goals today directly on him. That Nylander goal was a great shot, the DeBrincat goal was thanks to some great puck movement on the powerplay, and that last Patrick Kane goal was a total “what the fuck just happened” moment. So I wouldn’t say this was a “Vezina nominee Carter Hart” type of performance but when he needed to make a big stop…

…he made a big stop.

Overall it was a very solid performance from the Flyers. There wasn’t any moment during the game that I thought to myself “oh shit, these guys are getting absolutely worked right now”. Chicago had a few decent shifts but for the most part of the game, the Flyers were in control. Contributions from all 4 lines, defense didn’t give up too many chances and Carter Hart was calm between the pipes. And again, this lineup isn’t even close to finalized yet. Nolan Patrick, Joel Farabee, Phil Myers and Morgan Frost will all get called up eventually. I think Flyers fans have earned themselves the right to properly get #InOne tonight.

Final Score: Flyers 4, Blackhawks 3

1-0.

@BarstoolJordie