Straka Searching For Continued Scoring Success

Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Petr Straka is hoping for a strong finish to both his and his team's season. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
In the final year of his entry-level contract with the Philadelphia Flyers organization, forward Petr Straka has had an up-and-down season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms - his third as a member of the Flyers' AHL affiliate.

This season alone has been a roller coaster ride for Straka, who after opening night began a four-game stretch with a goal in four consecutive games in mid-October. He followed that up with an even more impressive six straight games with a goal in the month of November. When that was said and done, Straka had tallied 14 goals in his first 20 games.

From there, however, Straka's goal-scoring streak ran cold to the tune of just four goals over the next 17 games before blocking a shot in Portland at the turn of the 2016 calendar year and missing a month with a lower body injury. Upon his return to the lineup on February 10th, it was noticeable that Straka was not the same player he was earlier this season.

"Honestly, since the injury there was so many areas of the games where I could get better," Straka told The Home News. "I had some talks with [Phantoms head coach Scott] Gordon. Finally, it looks like he woke me up a little bit and pushed me a little harder this time."

Saturday against Binghamton, Straka broke his 14-game goalless drought and tallied his 18th of the season which at the time brought the Phantoms within a goal late in the 2nd period down 2-1.

"It felt great. It’s been awhile," Straka said after the game, adding. "I’m not going to lie it was in my head for awhile now. As much you try not to think about it, you are a goal scorer. You just want to score goals. I feel like I responded pretty well and got the one goal, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough for us to come away with the win."

Whether he likes to admit it or not, these final 16 games are important for Straka - a pending restricted free agent this summer - to make a final impression upon GM Ron Hextall and the organization's staff.

"I don’t really look at it that way. I just want to get out there every night and do my best," Straka said on if he notices the importance of this stretch run for his future with the organization. "Like I said, since the injury I wasn’t really myself and hopefully I found my game tonight and keep it going for the next game. I know this team needs me so if I score again next game, hopefully we are going to win that game it will keep going."

As for the future, Straka is taking a simple one day at a time approach. What will happen this summer will, of course, happen this summer. Time will tell what the future holds for Plzen, Czech Republic native and Flyers' 2nd round pick in 2010.

"I don’t really look into what’s going to happen this summer. It’s going to take some time after the season to figure it out," Straka said, adding, "I want to enjoy my time here, we have a great group of guys, a great facility in Allentown. I’m thankful I can be here and be in the Flyers organization. What happens after isn’t something I can control. I’m going to think about it after [the season], I’m just going to do my best right now."


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