VOORHEES, N.J. — All signs from Saturday’s morning skate point to the Flyers’ 2019-20 leading scorer and goal scorer being benched for tonight’s game against the Islanders at the Wells Fargo Center.
Travis Konecny was not on either power play unit in practice as he stayed off to the side and then skated with the other apparent scratches (Robert Hagg, Nate Prosser and Brian Elliott) following the morning session.
Samuel Morin, the club’s 13th forward who has not appeared in a game yet this season, led the team’s post-practice stretches. Typically, when a player leads stretches, there’s some type of significance to it. Also, teammates often tap their sticks or cheer during such a moment, depending on the reason, but it was rather quiet and subdued Saturday given the circumstances of Konecny appearing to be out of the lineup.
Head coach Alain Vigneault’s pregame media availability is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. ET. We’ll know more then before puck drop (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
Konecny did not have a shot on goal and had two giveaways in 17:33 minutes of the Flyers’ 3-1 win Thursday over the Devils. He played only 4:20 in the third period and played around 30 seconds in the final five minutes of the game. After the game, Vigneault was left displeased with and perplexed by the performances of his top two forward lines in the first two periods.
Getting Morin a game in a back-to-back set would be one thing, but doing so at the expense of Konecny’s spot in the lineup says something. This is the Flyers’ first game against the team that eliminated them in a second-round Game 7 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Unless Konecny is dinged up physically, and it doesn’t appear that he is considering he participated in practice and stayed on for extra work, this is a loud message sent from Vigneault nine games into the 2020-21 season. Konecny was an All-Star last season and led the Flyers in goals (24) and points (61) over 66 games. The 23-year-old winger has five goals, three assists and a plus-5 mark through the first eight games of this season.
The message would not only be sent to Konecny, but also to the Flyers’ entire roster. Despite their 5-2-1 start, the Flyers have been outshot in seven of their eight games, with five of them by double-digit margins. Last season, the Flyers allowed the NHL’s fewest shots per game.
Philippe Myers is expected to return Saturday night from a fractured rib. He skated alongside Travis Sanheim and appears good to go. Carter Hart will start in net, while Brian Elliott is expected to play the second game of the back-to-back set Sunday.
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