Great goals and spectacular saves, starring Danis Zaripov, Teemu Hartikainen, Nikita Bespalov and Kirill Rasskazov – the KHL is proud to bring you the best moments from the fifteenth week of the tenth Championship.
SKA forward Sergei Plotnikov begins our look back at the week's finest momets, setting off from his own blue line on a forceful surge through the Ak Bars defense, crowned by a smart finish past Emil Garipov to double the Army Men's lead. Next is a fine counter-attack from Vityaz against Dinamo Riga, with Borna Rendulic calmly waiting for the right moment to send a perfect pass to Matias Myttynen. Severstal forward Alexander Bumagin was falling when he collected Dmitry Kagarlitsky's pass, but still beat the Slovan goalie. At number 7 is Taylor Beck of Kunlun Red Star, who seemed to have run out of options after an impressive solo skate down the left wing, yet he somehow found the roof of the Avangard net from the tightest of angles, while Spartak's Ryan Stoa showed quick thinking and imagination when he deftly diverted Evgeny Kulik's shot through his own legs and into the goal.
We kick off the top 5 with another inventive move: Vasily Tokranov of Ak Bars bypassing the Dynamo defense with a perfectly weighted pass off the boards and into the path of Artyom Lukoyanov, who was in no mood to spurn the opportunity. Next is an impessive coact-to-coast goal by Artyom Mikheyev of Avangard against Lada. Our bronze medal goal is from Ak Bars forward Anton Lander, who in the match against SKA cheekily stole the puck from a defenseman deep in enemy territory and expertly outplayed goalie Mikko Koskinen. Silver goas to Teemu Hartikainen of Salavat Yulaev, who produced some superb stick-handling to bamboozle the Dynamo Moscow goaltender and seal victory in overtime, and Anton Lander returns for our gold-medal goal - the Swede combined beautifully with Stanislav Galiyev and Kazan's returning hero, Danis Zaripov, who showed he has lost none of his killer instinct in only his second game back in an Ak Bars jersey.
We begin our countdown of the ten finest saves of the week with Dynamo Moscow's Ivan Bocharov, who was equal to Andrei Markov's fierce long-range shot in the match against Ak Bars, followed by Dinamo Riga's Janis Kalnins against Vityaz, who just managed to get across to cover an unguarded corner. Alexander Sudnitsin of Lokomotiv reacted just in time to get a glove to a one-timer from Kazan's Mikhail Glukhov, while Salavat Yulaev's Ben Scrivens had to be similarly alert when an unexpected error by one of his defensemen handed the opposition a scoring chance, and Emil Garipov of Ak Bars broke Lokomotiv hearts by foiling a 2-on-0 break by the Railwaymen.
Our fifth-best save is from Moscow Army Man Ilya Sorokin, with a desperate lunge to prevent Barys danger man Nigel Dawes tapping a rebound into an empty net. Next is Metallurg Magnitogorsk goalie Vasily Koshechkin, doing the splits to save his team during a tense overtime against Sibir. Magnus Hellberg of Kunlun Red Star takes third prize with a sharp reflex save to deny Amur's Oleg Li, whose team-mate and fellow forward, Kirill Rasskazov, produced our second-best stop, showing remarkable anticipation and vision to reach a shot which had slipped past his goalie. However, the stand-out save of the week was the work of Spartak goalie Nikita Bespalov, who in the retro-themed match against Slovan pulled off a brave and spectacular goal-line save, shrugging off an injury to get a glove to the puck while at full stretch. True heroics.