Travis Konecny never doubted the Flyers would break out of their late-season funk. And, apparently, neither did any of his teammates.
Saddled with losses in seven of the last eight games and their grip on a playoff spot severely loosening, the Flyers won back-to-back games this weekend in Carolina and at home against the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals to temporarily, at least, right the ship.
“Honestly, I don’t think the confidence ever left,” Konecny said following Sunday’s 6-3 win over the Caps. “We know there are going to be ups and downs and you just have to work through it. We played good through the stretch, but we didn’t get the outcome we wanted.”
The Flyers endured worse this season when they went winless [0-5-5] during a span that covered November and December.
To their credit, the players circled the wagons and never panicked. They trusted each other, the coaching staff and the system and emerged as a stronger team mentally to post one of the best records in the league in January and February.
When adversity struck again in March with a playoff berth on the line, the Flyers leaned on that experience from the fall.
“It helped 100 percent,” Konecny said. “It’s tough going through a stretch like that, but when we go in to tough stretches now we are not nervous or worried about going on another 10-game winless stretch. We’ve been in the situation before. We just need to bring it back in, control our emotions and stay positive – and it’s just paid off for us.”
It’s pretty wild how quickly fortunes can change at this point of the year. Over the span of 24 hours, the Flyers went from the brink of falling out of a playoff spot to within four points of first place in the Metropolitan Division heading into Monday’s games.
“It’s all about weathering the storm,” Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said. “We’ve been in the driver’s seat the whole time. We are not chasing anyone and we are in a playoff spot. I think we realize that we are in a good position here. So we just have to take it game-by-game, play with confidence and the rest will take care of itself.”
With nine games left, anything can still happen. Regardless of what transpires in the final three weeks, though, the Flyers feel they’ve proven they have the mettle to withstand and overcome any obstacles.
“This year we’ve done a very good job of sticking together, playing as a team and overcoming the hard parts of the season,” defenseman Ivan Provorov said. “We just have to play the same way and we will get through it.”