RW - 22 years old - shoots left - fourth full KHL season
I think the Lokomotiv coach has an odd relationship with Yegor Korshkov, and this is just my impression at a distant remove. He certainly played Korshkov more than he had been in the final two games of the season. He really needed to, with Brandon Kozun out for the second game of his suspension on Tuesday, and SKA up two games to one in the series.
Lokomotiv, at home where they had to win or all was lost — lost. 3-1. And SKA, as always, looked like a team from some other league that just toyed with their opponents until they felt like bothering, and then popped in a couple of goals.
In the last chance to survive game on Thursday in St. Petersburg, Lokomotiv got the first goal, and SKA woke up and scored two (both by Nikita Gusev, so if he does join Vegas next year, look out) and then a third to make it 3-1. Lokomotiv scored one more, in the second period by this point, so SKA shook themselves to life and made it 4-2. Again Lokomotiv got a goal and then this beauty of a setup from Korshkov to Rushan Rafikov tied the game with eight minutes left in the third:
#LeafsForever Yegor Korshkov finds #Flames Rushan Rafikov in front of the net. pic.twitter.com/bBSnrU4dGE— Russian Prospects (@RUSProspects) March 21, 2019
I was really surprised they managed this, but SKA actually lost a goal review, so the game seemed fair this time, at least in officiating. Lokomotiv was doing all they could, and SKA looked very lazy and like a team that knew they had another try even if they lost this one.
Gusev’s line scored at just under seven minutes of overtime, and that was it. It was over. The goal set up by Korshkov is the last goal of Lokomotiv’s season, his KHL season. Maybe his last there for a very long time, if things go well for him in Toronto.
He’s coming to Toronto, I can pretty much guarantee that, but I don’t know when or in what way. If Lokomotiv don’t complain, they could release him from the last few weeks of his contract now, and he might show up in Marlies blue and white any day. He might not be here until May 1 when the contract has officially expired. Or maybe it will be the summer tournaments and camps and then training camp. All things are possible.
D - 20 years old - shoots right - first year in the KHL
On the Marlies
D - 21 years old - shoots right - second season in the Liiga
HPK had some days off while the first round of the Liiga playoffs played out, determining the seventh and eighth teams to enter the quarterfinals. They got back in action last Thursday, and they won their opener on the road, which is always a big plus.
The score of this one was 3-2 HPK over TPS (home to hot draft prospect Kappo Kakko), and the second HPK goal was scored by none other than the second pairing right defenceman, Jesper Lindgren. One writeup for the game said that Lindgren really seemed to have Kakko well contained.
You can watch the game highlights here (if you get a notice in Finnish first, just click OK). HPK is in white, and Lindgren is #5, so you might notice him not stopping the first TPS rush that leads to a goal. Stick with it after the goal, and you’ll see him in a scrum around the net that turns into a fight.
The second game of the series was Saturday at home for HPK, and while Kakko managed two goals and an assist on a third (he might be good at this hockey stuff), HPK took it 5-3. Lindgren had an assist on one goal.
The next game is today back in Turku. They alternate each game in the Liiga, which I guess you can do in a small country. HPK has set themselves up very well to win this, but they do actually have to win two more games.
W/C - 19 years old - shoots left - first SHL season
Växjö had to play their best-of-three first-round playoff series to get to the quarterfinals in the SHL, and they did it with two very convincing wins, so they saved themselves the third game. The second win was all Kris Versteeg, and he had two assists and followed up with two goals, to basically pick the team up and carry them to the next round.
Pontus Holmberg is playing as the fourth-line centre still, getting decent minutes for playoff hockey, and he’s very much in a defensively focused role. I’m not expecting a lot of points from him as the more serious playoffs unfold.
Växjö is facing the very strong, second-ranked Luleå in the quarterfinals, and in their first game on Friday, at home to Luleå, they looked like they were playing a slow game of chess for much of the first two periods. The score was 1-1 heading into the third, and then with two minutes left, Luleå scored after a long period of very, very chippy play full of scrums and fights that sapped the game of all flow. Luleå added another for a fairly easy 3-1 win.
Holmberg played 12 minutes in this one, and had one notable event early on, when the refs were calling everything, where he took an interference penalty while the victim went off for diving. Both likely justified.
The second game on Sunday in Växjö’s rink looked like it was in the bag for the home team late in the third as they led 4-3. They couldn’t hold it, however, and they ended up losing 5-4 in OT. Being down two games in a best of seven series is not a good place to be.
RW - 19 years old - shoots left - first year in the VHL
Done for the season.
Winger - 21 years old - shoots left - third VHL season
Toros has won their quarterfinal round, so Nikolai Chebykin will move on to a semifinal against the team he was on last year. That starts in a few days.
He had a goal and an assist in the last game of the series, and he now has four points in nine playoff games, for an improvement over his regular season rate.
Winger/C - 20 years old - shoots left - third pro season, first in the KHL/VHL
Done for the season.