Avtomobilist, 3 G, saves percentage 95.58%, goals-against average 1.63
It's been years that Jakub Kovar is one of the top goalies in the KHL, and in his seventh year in the League, it looks like the Czech is in better shape than ever. This week, Kovar confirmed once again to be an elite goalie managing to lead Avtomobilist to keep their seven-game points streak alive. On Monday, the Czech started the week with a strong showing against Barys. In spite of his team's loss, Kovar stopped 32 shots after capitulating to Darren Dietz in OT. Two days later, Avtomobilist went on to face two of the top KHL teams Avangard and CSKA. The goalie played lights out in both encounters. On Tuesday, Avtomobilist defeated Avangard in a tense away game, ended in OT, while on Sunday, Kovar was nothing short of incredible, leading the way with a 43-save performance as Avtomobilist defeated the reigning Gagarin Cup champions with a 2-1 score. The Ural franchise seems to be out of crisis now, and Kovar's incredible play of late can help Avtomobilist in climbing even higher in the Eastern Conference standings.
Dynamo Moscow, 3G, 5 (2+3) points, -3
It was a good week for Dynamo – the White-and-Blues won two games of three – and Michal Cajkovsky was instrumental for the Muscovites. Dynamo's road trip started from Tatarstan – there, Dynamo defeated Neftekhimik in a high-scoring game, with the teams exchanging ten goals. In that game, the Slovak defenseman was relatively quiet on the scoresheet, posting only one helper in the second period for Dmitrij Jaskin's 13th tally of the season. However, in that game, Cajkovsky patrolled the blueline blocking five shots from Neftekhimik and eating up more than 20 minutes. Two days later, the White-and-Blues moved to Riga, where they incredibly found victory being down 2-3 at the 56th minute. Late in the third period, Cajkovsky sent the game to OT with a blistering one-timer from the left circle for his third goal in the season. On Friday, Cajkovsky scored Dynamo's lone goal in a 1-3 away loss to Jokerit. The Blues-and-Whites are currently the fourth seed in the Western Conference standings, and this year, they will want to go deep in the playoffs.
Dinamo Minsk, 3 G, 4 (4+0) points, -1
It wasn't the best week for the Minsk men, who only won one game. However, defeating Avangard in Balashikha meant a return to two-point games after a three-game hiatus – before the victory, Dinamo won its most recent game on November 13. At the start of the season, Teemu Pulkkinen was unstoppable, scoring in all the first four games for Dinamo. Later, he cooled down a bit, but his production peaked again this week, when he scored in three consecutive games, finding twine four times. On Thursday, the Finn scored to Torpedo with only four seconds on the clock to cut the gap to minimum, but it was too late. Two days later, Dinamo was no rival for Spartak as Oleg Znarok's team easily got rid of the Minsk men with a 7-2 score, but allowing a powerplay goal to Pulkkinen in the first period. However, on Saturday, the Finn scored Dinamo's both goals in the sensational, 2-1 win over Avangard. The playoffs' zone is far for Minsk, but the season isn't over yet.
Jokerit, 3 G, 6 (1+5) points, +2
It was a solid week for both Jokerit and the veteran forward, with two wins and a SO loss in three games. This also meant that Jokerit further cemented its playoffs-bound performance in the Western Conference as they are up by seven points over the ninth seed, HC Sochi. Petri Kontiola started the week with a fantastic, three-point performance over his former team, Traktor, talling a goal and adding a pair of helpers as Jokerit walked away from Chelyabinsk with a 5-2 win. Three days later, the Finn side had another fantastic showing, defeating Dynamo Moscow with a 3-1 score at the Hartwall Arena, when Kontionla notched another assist. On Sunday, Jokerit suffered from a SO loss to Lokomotiv, but Kontiola was once again all over the ice, assisting in both Jokerit's goals. The Finns are now clearly on the rise, and it will be interesting to see what they will achieve next week in their positive streak.
Spartak, 2 G, 4 (2+2) points, +4
Spartak is currently in a three-game winning streak, and they did another step towards the playoffs last week, winning both games – against Lokomotiv (SO) and Dinamo Minsk. On Wednesday, Spartak got the best over the Railwaymen after SO and Kaspars Daugavins got to the scoresheet assisting Dmitry Vishnevsky's 2-1 goal in the second period. Moreover, he was one of the few players to surpass the 35 km/h mark in the game, with a recorded top speed of 35.45 km/h. The next day, The Reds-and-Whites thumped Dinamo Minsk at home with a 7-2 score – Daugavins posted a double and added a helper. The team led by Oleg Znarok is currently the third seed in the Western Conference standings, and chances are good that they will keep a similar result until the end of the season. Spartak and Daugavins won't be easy opponents for any team.