Frölunda played last Sunday against Djurgården in a game where the ice seemed so tilted in Frölunda’s favour, it was a shock the score was only 1-1 heading into the third period. Frölunda found their touch and made it 4-1 before the game was over.
While the team is finding it’s way and has improved to fourth place in the league with a positive goal differential, Carl Grundström is still not producing offensively.
In Sunday’s game he drew a penalty that led to a goal and he had five shots on goal, but no points again. He’s getting good icevtime, playing the third line wing spot that launched Artturi Lehkonen into the NHL, but he isn’t adding a lot to the team.
On Tuesday, the team travelled to Minsk for the round of 32 in the Champions Hockey League and were forced by circumstance to play a lineup full of prospects. Grundström moved up to the second line and had only three shots on goal in a desultory loss to a much lower ranked Yunost Minsk.
Thursday saw them in SHL action again against Växjö, where they were grossly outplayed, but pulled out a win. Grundström, back on the third line, was very ineffective in this game.
Saturday featured another game in the SHL in their busiest week to date, and Grundström was back on the second line with Johan Sundström, the centre Andreas Johnsson played with and one of the best players on the team. We should expect Grundström to play a role like Zach Hyman does, with lots of forechecking and net-front presence. He was much better in this game than he has been in weeks, particularly at that net-front part of the game.
Sundström had the only goal of the game, but he was on the ice with some of the third line when he scored. And within seconds, when Grundstöm was on the ice and not doing any useful defending, Frölunda were scored against. Färjestad went on to win the game in overtime.
Progress is a struggle sometimes, and on a team experiencing some very low shooting percentages, Grundström likely looks worse than he is, but he is a liability in the defensive zone right now, and that makes it hard to keep a spot on a scoring line.
MODO played three games this week, winning two, and they have another one today. Jesper Lindgren had one assist and seems to be locked in on the second unit. You can see his good point shot on the second goal for MODO at about the 40 second mark on the highlight video. He currently sits fourth in the league in points for defenders.
Mora IK played only two games, splitting the decisions. The loss was a shutout with Pierre Engvall playing on the third line, the win had him back on the second unit, but he was kept off the scoresheet. He has dropped to fifth in points in the league.
Spartak played three games, lost them all, and Vladimir Bobylyov played about 10 minutes per game in the first two and didn’t dress for the third. Not a good week for the team who were on the tough far-Eastern road trip. They lost to Kunlun Red Star for the second time. The Chinese expansion team only has seven wins so far, but they have Spartak’s number.
Lokomotiv played two games, one last Sunday that turned out to be a one-goal loss to Jokerit. Yegor Korshkov had a shorthanded goal and an assist in that game. The video of his shorthanded goal is in last week’s report.
On Thursday, they played in Latvia against Dinamo Riga, and Korshkov had another goal, but was hurt in a boarding incident and left the game. The game ended up tied, and when overtime didn’t settle it, they embarked on the longest shootout in KHL history. Riga took the win, and Lokomotiv again lost a close game.
Lokomotiv are solidly in fifth place in their conference and need to win a few of these one-goal games if they want to move up.
Dynamo Balashikha, the VHL team Nikolai Chebykin has been playing with had a very good week, winning all three games they played. Chebykin played between 12 and 15 minutes per game and had one assist. He seems to be establishing himself well at this level, and his ice time has increased of late.