G, Lokomotiv, 3 W, 1 SO, 96%, GAA 0.98
The Canadian netminder has finally returned after his injury and did it in style — he allowed less than a goal a game in his first three KHL games this season, including shutting out Vityaz on Tuesday. In his first game in the 2019-2020 campaign, Pasquale stopped 29 shots as Lokomotiv got rid of Vityaz with a sound, 5-0 away victory. Two days later, the Railwaymen defeated Spartak in Moscow in OT. On Oct. 10, Lokomotiv needed another OT to win, this time in Yaroslavl over Dynamo Moscow. Pasquale, who will turn 30 in November, confirmed to be in excellent shape, stopping 26 shots and allowing Lokomotiv to celebrate its third win in a row. Currently, Lokomotiv sits on the fourth position in the Western Conference’s standings, and Pasquale’s return is undoubtedly fantastic news for Andrei Skabelka. For his efforts, the Canadian netminder was awarded Best Goalie honors.
G, Metallurg, 3 W, 97.67%, GAA 0.74
Like Pasquale, Olkinuora also enjoyed a winning week, with three straight victories that helped Metallurg climb to third place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Finn netminder, who was also born in 1990, started the week with a 24-save performance as Metallurg downed Neftekhimik in Nizhnekamsk for an easy win. On Wednesday, Metallurg defeated SKA in St. Petersburg, with Olkinuora posting a tremendous 34-win performance and allowing once again just one goal. On Oct. 9, Metallurg moved to Yekaterinburg to face Avtomobilist. This time, veteran Vasily Koshechkin was designated to start, but Ilya Vorobyov had no other choice than benching him after three allowed goals. Olkinuora stepped in as a substitute, stopping all the 26 shots he faced and allowing Metallurg to rally and win in SO.
F, Jokerit, 2 G, 3 (1+2) points, +5
The Finnish franchise only played two games last week but showed all its power with two highly-resultative victories. Brian O’Neill, at his fifth season with Jokerit, was fantastic for the Jokers in the 7-1 home win over Spartak Moscow. The 32-years-old forward first assisted Veli-Matti Savinainen’s opening goal, then scored himself in the second period the 4-0 goal during a penalty-killing stretch. Later in the third period, O’Neill again assisted Savinainen to complete his three-point night. Two days later, the veteran forward amassed a plus-1 rating when Jokerit got the best of Dinamo Riga with a 4-1 score — O’Neill was on the ice when Savinainen tallied the game-winner in the first period. Jokerit is having a great season so far, with seven wins in just eleven games.
D, Jokerit, 2 G, 3 (1+2) points, +5
Other than excellent scoring by Brian O’Neill, Jokerit could also count on a strong performance on the blueline by the usual suspect Mikko Lehtonen and newcomer Jonathan Pudas. The 27-years-old is in his first season with the Jokers and finally saw his production rise after a five-game drought. The Swedish blueliner started the week tallying his first goal in the KHL in the third period against Spartak Moscow — he also had an assist in the second period. Three days later, Pudas had his third assist of the season for Savinainen’s game-winner. The blueliner is starting to find his place in the Jokerit’s defensive corps. Having another player who can get on the scoresheet and provide excellent defensive coverage will be crucial for the Finn franchise’s chances in the postseason.
G, Avtomobilist, 3 G, 2 W, 93.10%, GAA 1.96
The Czech netminder is frequently a guest of this column, and last week he delivered with two wins and a SO loss as Avtomobilist keeps its point streak alive. The Motormen now has five consecutive games with at least a point. Kovar was instrumental, especially on Sunday, when Avtomobilist defeated Traktor with a 3-1 score, thanks to the goalie’s 26 saves. Kovar has already amassed two assists this season, and his strong play is going on and on as he is helping Avtomobilist being the Eastern Conference’s second force, trailing Avangard by only two points.