PRAGUE -- Travis Konecny skated up the ice, dangled around Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith and lifted a backhand past goalie Corey Crawford. It was a highlight-reel play, but the Philadelphia Flyers forward was nonchalant about it.
"I'm just trying to play the right way," Konecny said after scoring two goals and adding an assist in a 4-3 win in the 2019 NHL Global Series at O2 Arena on Friday, the season opener for each team. "I got a couple good bounces and a couple good opportunities. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't. Tonight, they did."
It was a big night for Konecny, who signed a six-year, $33 million contract Sept. 16. The fourth-year forward, who had an NHL career-high 49 points (24 goals, 25 assists) last season, missed the first four days of training camp while unsigned. The Flyers weren't happy with Konecny's absence, but he caught up quickly.
"I think I mentioned at the time, we did a lot of video work with him," said Alain Vigneault, who coached his first game with the Flyers. "He came to camp in great shape and picked everything up he'd been behind in and had a real good game for us."
Video: CHI@PHI: Konecny nets second goal with backhander
Konecny knows that there are higher expectations that come with that contract and said he can feel it.
"I do, as far as playing the right way," he said. "I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing for the team and for my linemates and coaching staff. I put pressure on myself that way to make sure I'm doing whatever is asked of me. But we're all excited. It's a fun time, everyone's excited about the new staff and the new opportunity we have. It's a lot of positive thoughts and vibes around the room right now."
The Flyers were happy with their game against the Blackhawks, especially after a 4-3 loss to Lausanne HC in Switzerland in the 2019 NHL Global Series Challenge on Monday. Konecny was strong from the start Friday, stealing the puck from Blackhawks defenseman Dennis Gilbert and beating Crawford from the left face-off circle for a 1-0 lead at 6:24 of the first period. Konecny's slick second goal made it 3-1 with 1:56 remaining in the second. He also set up Oskar Lindblom's power-play goal at 6:28 of the second that gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead.
"Anytime you get the first goal of the game, first goal of the season, I think it gives you a little boost, gives you a little bit of confidence," Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux said. "The second goal he scored, it was a nice move and that's what he does. When he has a chance to score, he finds a way."
It's been a long trip, but the Flyers got off to the start they were hoping for. So did Konecny.
"I felt pretty good tonight, but I'm definitely not going to take my foot off the pedal," he said. "I still want to prove to the coaching staff I'm able to play in all situations and limit my mistakes. I've still got a lot to work on, but it was definitely a good start."