Alessandro Seren Rosso Alessandro Seren Rosso
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KHL.ru analyzes the best imports from each country as the season shifts toward postseason mood.

Canada

Cody Franson

D, Avangard, 3 G, 2 (0+2) points, +5

The large-framed Canadian defenseman helped Avangard in keeping alive its seven-game winning streak, eating up minutes on the blue line, and contributing to his team's victories. In the first game of the week, a 2-1 SO road win over Vityaz, Franson logged a whopping 29+ minutes on ice, spending almost eight minutes in the offensive zone and producing four shots on goal for the Omsk franchise. Two days later, the towering blueliner had a pair of assists, and a +3 rating, as Avangard got rid of HC Sochi with a 5-2 score. Late in the third period, Franson had a shot from the blueline that ricocheted on a Sochi defenseman's leg. Pavel Dedunov picked up the puck and scored – it was the game-winner for Avangard, which then scored two more times, including the final empty-netter with another assist by Franson. On Sunday, the Canadian D-man was silent on the scoresheet, but he racked up a +2 rating as Avangard trashed Metallurg at home with a 6-1 score as the Hawks keep on flying high on the Eastern Conference's standings. The team led by Bob Hartley is now the second seed in the East and has already clinched yet another postseason participation. Cody Franson's performance was recognized with the best defenseman of the week's honors.

Sweden

Linus Videll

F, Barys, 3 G, 5 (1+4) points, even

It hasn't been the best week for Nur-Sultan, but Videll tried hard and scored five points in three matches. Barys' week started in Helsinki, where the team came out with a surprising 5-1 road win – with a two-point performance by Videll. The Swede assisted Corban Knight's opening goal in the first period and added an empty-netter later in the third stanza. However, Barys failed to repeat the Helsinki's strong showing. Two days later, the team moved to St. Petersburg, where they lost with a 7-4 score, with Videll picking up a helper in the second period. On Jan. 25, Barys traveled Eastward to face Salavat Yulaev, but once again couldn't come up with the two points in spite of yet another multi-game performance by Videll, who had a pair of helpers – both with the man advantage – before that Ufa picked up the lead in the final twenty minutes. The Kazakh franchise is currently the third seed in the Eastern Conference, and Videll's role in the team is getting bigger and bigger.

Finland

Teemu Hartikainen

F, Salavat Yulaev, 3 G, 4 (3+1) points, even

Salavat Yulaev had a strong week, winning two games and earning points in all matches. On Tuesday, Ufa shut out Admiral at home with a 2-0 win and Hartikainen assisting on Soshnikov's goal in the second period. Two days later, a Hartikainen's powerplay marker in the middle stanza wasn't enough to allow Ufa winning the fifth edition of the Green Derby as Kazan got the upper hand in SO. However, two days later, the Finnish forward scored two as Salavat Yulaev defeated Barys 5-2 at home in a packed Ufa-Arena scoring his 18th and 19th of the season. His record of 20 goals scored in the 2017-18 regular season is now at risk. Moreover, Hartikainen, who leads Salavat Yulaev for games (440) and goals (134) in the KHL, has recently inked a 2-year deal that will see him playing in Bashkiria until the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

United States

Brian O'Neill

F, Jokerit, 4 G, 3 (0+3) points, even

One of the top scorers in the latest KHL seasons, O'Neill is red hot this year as well and had a strong week helping Jokerit winning three games in a row last week. Jokerit first lost, somewhat surprisingly, to Barys with a 5-1 score, but then rebounded back and got the best over Admiral (4-3 OT), Kunlun (4-3), and Neftekhimik (3-2). O'Neill had a pair of assists in Jokerit's win over Vladivostok on Jan. 23, and his contribution was noticeable, especially in extra time when he sent the puck to Sami Lepisto in front of the crease with an open net with only 1:35 to go. Two days later, O'Neill assisted Jokerit's first goal as they rallied back from a 0-3 situation to defeat Kunlun 4-3 for one of the most exciting comebacks of the season. On Jan. 26, the American forward didn't score points but logged more time on the ice than any other player of his role with more than 18 minutes. Jokerit is currently the third seed in the Western Conference as they clinched a spot in the postseason. It will be essential for them to keep on winning games to remain in top shape and avoid dangerous clashes in the first round.

Czech Republic

Tomas Hyka

F, Traktor, 3 G, 3 (1+2) points, -3

Traktor's season hasn't been good so far, but Tomas Hyka and Lukas Sedlak have been one of the few positive aspects. Hyka, 26, was on the ice for all the three goals scored by Traktor last week. He started with a two-point game against Sibir on Jan. 21, when Chelyabinsk suffered a 5-2 loss. He first scored the 1-2 goal, then assisted his fellow Czech countrymate, Sedlak, for the 2-2 marker in the middle stanza. Two days later, Traktor lost 1-4 in Yekaterinburg, with Hyka and Sedlak assisting Nick Bailen's eighth goal of the season. On Jan. 25, Traktor was blanked by Spartak. Chelyabinsk is currently the last seed in the Eastern Conference, but they are still mathematically in for the race to the playoffs. However, chances are narrowing.

Germany

Brooks Macek

F, Avtomobilist, 3 G, 3 (2+1) points, -1

The forward is having an incredible first season in the KHL, with already 40 points under his belt – three of them arriving last week. Scoring a double against Traktor, he surpassed Felix Schutz for most points scored by a German player in a single KHL regular season. Schutz produced 38 points for Admiral in the 2013-14 campaign, while Eduard Lewandowski had 32 in 2009-10 split between Spartak and Neftekhimik. Two days later, Macek also had an assist in Avtomobilist's 2-3 loss to Ak Bars. Yekaterinburg is currently the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference – retaining the position will mean for them to keep the home crowd advantage in the playoffs' first round.

China

Brandon Yip

F, Kunlun, 3 G, 6 (1+5) points, +1

After representing China at the recent FONBET 2020 KHL All-Star Game, Yip had a great week, leading the KHL with six points in only three games. The Chinese forward started with a hat-trick of assists in Tuesday's 4-2 home win over Amur. The next day, the teams clashed again, and the result was the same, with Yip this time having "only" one assist. On Jan. 25, Kunlun moved to Finland. After being up by three goals, with Yip opening the score after eight minutes and assisting on Victor Bartley's 3-0 goal in the second period, the Chinese franchise couldn't resist Jokerit's comeback, losing the game with a 4-3 score. Kunlun Red Star is currently the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference as they are headed to the postseason after a two-year hiatus.

Alessandro Seren Rosso Alessandro Seren Rosso
exclusive for khl.ru

Related clubs

Avangard (Omsk) Avangard (Omsk)
Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg) Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg)
Barys (Nur-Sultan) Barys (Nur-Sultan)
Jokerit (Helsinki) Jokerit (Helsinki)
Kunlun Red Star (Beijing) Kunlun Red Star (Beijing)
Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)
Traktor (Chelyabinsk) Traktor (Chelyabinsk)

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