Great goals, spectacular saves and the hardest hits, starring Jack Skille, Vasily Demchenko and Andrei Zubarov – the KHL is proud to bring you the best moments from the fourth week of the tenth Championship.
It is was big week of hockey, and consequently, one with many more great goals, saves, and hits, so it is doubly impressive that Traktor's Paul Szczechura features twice in our list. A special mention must also be made of Magnitka's Matt Ellison, whose gritty determination heped him score while being bundled to the ice by a Dynamo defenseman.
“When in doubt, stick the puck into the back of the net.” There were many examples this week of solo heroics when even a pass, let alone a goal, seemed unlikely. Evgeny Ketov of SKA, Alexei Byvaltsev of Amur, and Dmitry Kagarlitsky of Severstal were among those who found their passing options strictly limited, so they decided to go it alone and score the hard way.
In second place is Damir Zhafyarov of Admiral, who finished off a ruthlessly rapid four-man combination against Slovan, but this week's undisputed winner came from Dinamo Minsk's new signing, Jack Skille. It is always impressive when a forward scores with sniper's precision from a tight angle through a crowd of bodies, but the USA international somehow managed it with his back to goal. Extra-sensory perception? Maybe. Goal of the week? Certainly.
Magnitogorsk goalie Ilya Samsonov was making only his third appearance of the season when he minded the Metallurg net at the home of the champion, SKA, and yet he managed to produce two of this week's top ten, first producing a smart double save from Nikita Gusev and then even winning a one-on-one duel with Pavel Datsyuk.
We also feature three saves from Sibir's Alexander Salak but they all came iduring one frantic assault by Barys's new and formidable front line. Lada's Alexander Lazushin, Kunlun Red Star's Tomi Karhunen, and Barys's Henrik Karlsson were among those who made superb reaction stops with the glove during the week, while young SKA goalie Igor Shestyorkin reminded all of his unbounded potential with his exploits against Metallurg's fearsome offense.
The Save of the Week was the work of Traktor's Vasily Demchenko, who combined so many valuable goaltending qualities - agility, strength, alertness and amazing vision (shades of Stille's suspected ESP) – when he produced his last-ditch, twisting dive to deny SKA what seemed a certain goal.
Last week, Avtomobilist's Nikita Tryamkin was number one in the Top Ten Goals listings with a strike of grace and beauty, and this week he proved he is just as adept at the rough stuff, becoming a stone wall from which Dynamo's Ivan Igumnov was sent bouncing and tumbling.
SKA forward Sergei Plotnikov often relishes the physical duels, but he was certainly second bst in a collision with Tryamkin's fellow Motor Man, Alexei Vasilevsky. In second place is our most consistent hit-man, Dynamo's Evgeny Artyukhin, who must have left Traktor's Alexander Rybakov feeling as if he had been hit by, well, a tractor.
This week's gold medal hit was yet another incident in that SKA-Metallurg classic in Saint Petersburg, and it came from Army Man Andrei Zubarev with an almighty check on Yaroslav Kosov. As we have already used the tractor metaphor, we will settle on “bulldoze” as the most fitting verb.