RW - 22 years old - shoots left - fourth full KHL season
Lokomotiv faced SKA last year in the second round, and it wasn’t pretty, and so far this year, it’s even less attractive. They’re a very young team, playing call-ups and barely-ready juniors as they build up from the loss of some players off the top end. They will be a better team in coming years, but right now, they look like they can’t possibly beat SKA, but that was on SKA’s ice.
In game one, they chased the play all game, and lost it 1-0. This might be the height of their achievement on the road this playoffs. In the second game in the SKA rink they lost it 6-1, and that was a very unpretty game. Brandon Kozun, the first-line right wing, went in for a hit, that was, at best and viewed through homer goggles, super late. It ended up being so late, it became a dirty knee-on-knee, and he got the gate, and suspended for two games.
The action returns to Yaroslavl for two games, where the team has to rejig lines to make up for Kozun’s absence. Yegor Korshkov was the third-line right wing prior to this event, and he stayed in exactly that position for the first home game on Sunday. If you needed an indicator that the team knows he’s leaving when this season ends, and may never come back, that’s it.
On home ice, the way was easier for Lokomotiv, and they went out to a 2-0 lead heading into the third period. Goal number two had a secondary assist by Korshkov, and you can see him here taking the check behind the net, after having dished the puck off to #34 in the corner (they don’t show that bit, and while it sort of looks like he passes out to the scorer, that’s not how it looked on the longer slo-mo replay):
The final score of the game was 3-1, and the series continues 2 games to 1 for SKA on Tuesday.
D - 20 years old - shoots right - first year in the KHL
While his European career was a disappointment, he found another team to play on:
He’s on the current road trip with the Marlies, but hasn’t played yet.
D - 21 years old - shoots right - second season in the Liiga
HPK had one game left after last week’s report. They needed to win it to solidify their spot in the standings to give them a bye in the first round. They got it done with a 3-1 win over Tappara to finish in fifth place.
Jesper Lindgren didn’t score, so he finishes with 19 points (two of them goals) in 45 games.
HPK play TPS in the quarterfinals, so they aren’t waiting for one of the first round matches to know who to prepare for, the downside is TPS is finished higher than those playing in the first round, finishing in fourth with four more points than HPK. Wow, that sounds really familiar.
The quarterfinal round starts on Thursday, so in the Liiga and the SHL the reward for finishing high in the standings is a rest.
W/C - 19 years old - shoots left - first SHL season
Växjö was in a similar position in the SHL to HPK in the Liiga, but they did not get it done. In their last two regular season games, they lost in a shootout to Skellefteå and by one goal to Luleå, who are a much higher-ranked team. The end result of that is that they tumbled out of the top six to finish in seventh place.
They gave up on rest, and got to play in a anxiety-inducing best-of-three first round playoff against Örebro. In the first game of that series on Saturday, they started slow, got behind, tied it up, got behind on a goal by Tyson Spink (remember him?) and then Kris Versteeg earned whatever they paid to spring him from his KHL deal, and tied it up again. Nichlas Hardt won it in OT for the good guys.
The second and third game (if necessary) are this week.
Pontus Holmberg played a respectable 12 minutes in game one, so what I’ve seen of his usage over the end of the season looks like a coach who wants to play his veterans, but just can’t help playing Holmberg more and more because he doesn’t do dumb things.
Holmberg finished his first pro season with 10 points (three of them goals) in 47 games.
RW - 19 years old - shoots left - first year in the VHL
Done for the year.
Winger - 21 years old - shoots left - third VHL season
Toros bounced their first-round playoff opponent in a best-of-three series, and Nikolai Chebykin had an assist in one game in that series. They’re tied at two games all in the quarterfinals, and Chebykin has one goal in a 6-2 win.
Winger/C - 20 years old - shoots left - third pro season, first in the KHL/VHL
Done for the year.