Around The KHL: Prucha shorthanded goal sparks SKA

It was a busy day in the KHL with a slew of games on tap. Among the highlights were SKA’s come from behind 4-2 win over Metallurg Nk. In a game they trailed 2-0, SKA scored four unanswered to defeat Metallurg Nk. Petr Prucha’s shorthanded goal 10 seconds into the third period sparked a three-goal barrage. The former Garden favorite blasted a slap shot top shelf tying it 2-2. SKA wasn’t done scoring twice more 64 seconds apart to make a winner of ex-Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky. They took full advantage of a cheap Alexei Grishin check to the head major. Grishin’s dirty play injured SKA’s Maxim Rybin, who may have suffered a concussion. Exactly the kind of hit that shouldn’t be in hockey. Tony Martensson and one-time Blueshirt Alexei Semenov made him pay on the scoreboard. Dmitri Kalinin set up Martensson’s while Semenov neatly deflected home an Igor Makarov point shot. Future Devil captain Ilya Kovalchuk had an assist while on the losing side, former NHLer Randy Robitaille tallied for Metallurg Nk.

In other action, Alexander Radulov and Igor Grigorenko returned to Salavat Yulaev and helped CSKA defeat their former team 4-1. They scored the first two goals with Radulov instrumental on Grigorenko’s opener with a no look backhand feed from behind the net with a player on him. The man can play. Too bad he didn’t quite fit in with Nashville. His brother Igor also plays for CSKA as does Pavel Datsyuk, who picked up an assist on their fourth goal. Ilya Bryzgalov won his first game, only beaten once by ex-Blue Jacket Alexander Svitov on a leaky rebound. Datsyuk and defenseman Yakov Rylov combined to set up Andre Sergeyev’s power play goal with under a minute left. Rylov is a righty with a strong shot from the point. Looks like a good player. CSKA’s Alexei Marshenko also notched a goal and helper in the win.

Alexei Kruchinin’s goal in the fifth round of the shootout boosted Lokomotiv past Traktor 3-2. Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov stopped all five shooters for the ‘W.’ Lokomotiv led twice in regulation with goals off the sticks of Emil Galinov and Sergei Plotnikov. However, Traktor fought back thanks to tallies from Maxim Karpov and ex-Hab Jan Bulis. Trailing 2-1, Bulis tied it with 7:33 remaining. The game would go to a skill competition where Kruchinin netted the only goal on Michael Garnett.

A pair of former Canadiens helped lead Avangard to a 2-1 win over Donbass. Alexandre Perezhogin and Sergei Kostitsyn each scored for the former club of Jaromir Jagr and Alexei Cherepanov. Hard to believe it’s been four years since Cherepanov died tragically. 😦 How different might it have been for the Ranger organization? We’ll never know. Avangard made a winner of Karri Ramo. Old friend Ruslan Fedotenko tallied for Donbass. He should still be on our team.

Evgeny Malkin had two points in Metallurg Mg’s 3-2 win over Torpedo. Familiar face Mats Zuccarello took a Malkin pass and scored his first KHL goal for a 2-1 lead in the second. Over four minutes later, Malkin connected for the game winner. Leaf forward Nikolai Kulemin drew an assist. Former Blueshirt Enver Lisin also tallied for the winners. Hard to believe they gave up Lauri Korpikoski for him. Good god. Would’ve made parting with Brandon Dubinsky easier. Our third and fourth lines are much weaker after the Rick Nash trade. Not that it matters. Nash is scoring everyday alongside Joe Thornton for HC Davos in the Swiss League. For Toledo, Maxim Potapov and Mikhail Varnakov scored. What is it about cool Russian names? Must be all the Po Ryccku. 🙂

In another game of interest, Slovak hero Miroslav Satan led Slovan to a 3-2 shootout win over AK Bars. Pretty fitting that one of my favorites gets to play with fellow Slovaks Lubomir Visnovsky and goalie prospect Jaroslav Janus. Peter Olvecky is also a familiar name. Satan scored the shootout decider in Round 4 after also evening it earlier. I like the fact they allow the teams to use the same shooters. Maybe another league should adopt it instead of seeing it turn into a prolonged crapshoot. Jarkko Immonen had a goal and assist for AK Bars, who also is led by captain Alexei Morozov. Hasan’s favorite ex-Pen. 😛 Janne Pesonen had two helpers and scored the lone goal for AK Bars in the shootout. Marko Dano and Martin Stajnoch (PPG) tallied for the winners. Andrej Sekera also had an assist.

In the highest scoring contest of the day, Yugra doubled up Spartak 6-3. Ex-Devil prospect Anton But had a goal and two helpers. Igor Shorokhodov scored twice. Other Yugra goalscorers included Stanislav Bocharov, Sergei Demagin and Vitaly Sitnikov. Yegor Mikhailov, Anatoly Nikonstsev (SHG) and Oleg Gubin scored for Spartak in defeat. Former Flyer/Coyote Branko Radivojevic is Spartak’s captain. He finished with a helper. Stefan Ruzicka and former Isles’ draft pick Oleg Petrov play for them as does Shaone Morrisonn. I haven’t seen any highlights of Petrov yet but Ruzicka is very skilled.

Zdeno Chara and Marcel Hossa fell in a shootout. Lev was defeated 3-2 by Neftekhimik. Another cool name. Oilers first overall pick Nail Yakupov is the star for Neftekhimik. The super wiz kid continues to impress scoring another goal in the win. If anyone benefits the most from the work stoppage, it’s Yakupov who possesses great wheels along with a set of hands that should one day make him a 40-goalscorer. Considering that Edmonton already boasts Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall, they’re going to improve drastically whenever the NHL and NHLPA wake up. After Jiri Novotny tied it up in the second, Neftekhimik regained the lead thanks to Igor Polygalov, who tallied with 40 seconds remaining in the period. Andrei Subbotin netted the only assist. With less than 10 minutes to go in regulation, Hossa scored on the man-advantage from Juraj Mikus and Chara to force extras. Marcel might not have lit it up here but he did have that one shining moment outplaying older star brother Marian in our ’07 sweep of Atlanta. He fares well in the KHL. Another ex-Ranger who is making a name for himself is Erik Christensen. He’s always on the scoresheet and this one was no exception with the shootout ace scoring in the skill comp to tie it up for Lev. But Peter Koukal replied back in Round 3 and Michal Repik was denied by winning goalie Matt Dalton.

There are a couple of more games that took place including Ryan McDonagh’s new club Barys, who blanked Dinamo R 5-zip. Our shutdown defenseman had a good day setting up a pair of goals, including the first of a scoreless contest 35 minutes in with Winnipeg’s Nik Antropov tallying. Yet another former Ranger. Geez. What is it about this league that it has so many players who passed through here? It definitely brings a smile to my face. Even without the No Hockey League, we’re reminded of all our former players who wore our jersey. I forgot to mention that Alex Frolov had a helper in his game. I wonder if the list of ex-Rangers is more than any other NHL team. It just seems that way. McDonagh also helped assist on Dustin Boyd’s PPG. Boyd’s best known for his time spent in Calgary as an energizer. Brandon Bochenski also tallied for Barys. He’s the answer to a trivia question. Who was he traded for that went on to win a Cup and become an All-Star. Hint: It involved two Original Sixes who both have won Cups since. The second hint is he has since played for three more teams. A good player. Konstantin Rudenko had a goal and assist while Dmitry Upper got Bary’s fifth goal.

I think there were two more games. I’m just gonna give the scores and notables. Vityaz defeated Severstal 3-1. Alexander Korolyuk, Anton Korylyov and Evgeny Timkin each tallied for Vityaz while vet Niclas Andersen scored the lone goal for Severstal. Is that really the same guy? Chris Holt posted the only shutout Monday, helping backstop Avtomobilist past Atlant 1-0. He outdueled Anton Khudobin. Fyodor Malykhin broke up a scoreless tie with 12:01 remaining. Ex-Islander defenseman Branislav Mezei picked up the lone assist.

That’ll do it for the games. Alex Radulov leads the KHL in scoring with 19 points (7-12-19). With an assist, Kovalchuk already has 15 points (5-10-15) in eight games. A couple of former Ranger properties are off to strong starts. Jakub Petruzalek has 15 points (7-9-16). He never came over. One of those Euros with talent. Nigel Dawes has 13 points (8-5-13) for Barys. Kind of funny that he gets to team up with McDonagh. Nikolai Zherdev also has 15 points (5-10-15) for Atlant. Off to a better start than last year. Satan is 6-6-12. Korolyuk is 8-5-13 and Randy Robitaille is 3-11-14. Also of interest, former Capitals first rounder Evgeny Kuznetsov continues his hot start for Traktor pacing the club with 15 points (6-9-15). Wait till he comes to North America.


About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included two stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil games. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has scored Berkeley Carroll basketball games since 2006 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. From players, coaches to administrators, it's a first class program. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree.
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