F, Salavat Yulaev, 4 G, 6 (3+3) points, +5
Salavat Yulaev’s week didn’t start well as the Ufa franchise was blanked by Lokomotiv in a crushing 0-5 defeat at home. However, in the next game, Hartikainen turned on the burners and started scoring at a champion’s pace. First, he netted the game-winner in Salavat Yulaev’s comfortable 4-1 win over Amur, then had a three-point, plus-4 performance as Ufa thumped Metallurg 4-1 in Magnitogorsk. Two days later, Salavat Yulaev had a hard time downing Kunlun Red Star at home, but the Finnish forward started netting a goal in the second period. Then, with less than one minute to go in extra-time, he launched Philip Larsen in the neutral zone to tally one in OT to give Ufa two points in the standings. Hartikainen, who is Salavat Yulaev’s all-time top scorer in the KHL, is currently tied at second place in the league with 24 (13+11) points. The Ufa franchise is now leading the Chernyshev Division with 31 points — just one more than Avangard.
D, Vityaz, 3 G, 4 (2+2) points, +1
Vityaz and the Swedish defenseman had an excellent week, with three straight wins for the Moscow Region side and four points for Hultstrom. In his first year in the league, the blueliner started the week tallying the game-winning goal in Vityaz’s 5-1 downing of Dynamo Moscow. With his team on a powerplay, Hultstrom lightened it up with a powerful one-timer from the blue line. On Oct. 30, Hultstrom was again a critical player for Vityaz in powerplay situations, assisting Mattias Tedenby’s game-winner in his side’s 3-0 win over Severstal. However, the best was yet to come for the Swedish. In Sunday’s game between HC Sochi and Vityaz, Hultstrom first found his fourth on the season — once again on a powerplay. Then, the game went to OT with the teams tied at three, and Hultstrom contributed by assisting Danila Moiseyev’s tally less than one minute and a half in extra-time. Vityaz is now back in playoffs consideration as the team is now the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference.
F, Ak Bars, 2 G, 5 (2+3) points, +1
In his first games since Oct. 1, Dawes found his groove right away, helping Kazan win two straight games. On Oct. 27, Ak Bars was down 2-1 against Neftekhimik, then the Ontario native forward netted a double — including the game-winner with less than two minutes to go in the third period. Three days later, Dawes showed that he can be an instrumental player even if he doesn’t score. With Sibir Novosibirsk up by three goals after sixteen minutes, Kazan rallied back and won 5-3 with Dawes’ two-assist effort. The veteran forward has now 12 (7+5) points in 14 games so far, while Ak Bars leads the Kharlamov Division and the Eastern Conference with a one-point gap over Avtomobilist.
G, Lokomotiv, 3 G, 3 W, 1 shutout, 96.38%, GAA 1.01
The Canadian goalie is playing lights out this season, and accumulated another three wins last week. At first, he had his fourth shutout in the season when Lokomotiv surprised Salavat Yulaev in Ufa with a huge 5-0 win. Pasquale had a 35-save effort that night. After resting in Lokomotiv’s OT defeat in Yekaterinburg, the Canadian netminder was back in action on Oct. 30, when Lokomotiv defeated Dynamo Moscow with a 3-2 score. Pasquale faced 29 shots, allowing just two goals as Lokomotiv rallied back after being down 0-2 halfway through the game. Two days later, the Railwaymen recorded another W as they defeated Dinamo Minsk with a 4-1 score. It was a relatively quiet night for Pasquale, who only faced 19 shots, stopping 18 of them. Pasquale currently leads the league in most of the goaltending categories, while Lokomotiv is the third force in the Western Conference.
G, Avtomobilist, 2 G, 2 W, 1 shutout, 98.14%, 0.58 GAA
Another goalie who is a fixture in this column, Jakub Kovar had an exceptional week with Avtomobilist, despite playing only two games. At first, he had a 35-save shutout when Avtomobilist defeated a Lokomotiv in great shape with a 1-0 score and winning the duel with Ilya Konovalov. On Sunday, Avtomobilist had a comfortable home win over Dinamo Riga, with Kovar stopping 19 shots out of 20 and then leaving some space to Vladislav Gross in the third period.
Just as usual, Kovar is one of the best goalies in the league right now, and Avtomobilist is the third seed in the Eastern Conference.
F, Torpedo, 4 G, 5 (1+4) points, +1
The American forward is having an excellent season in Nizhny Novgorod. Torpedo is having a roller-coaster of a season, with some surprising wins — like getting an OT victory in Magnitogorsk — followed by equally stunning defeats. However, Miele — in his second year with the Volga franchise, had excellent performances last week, trying to help the team more in its losing efforts. For example, Miele was silent on the scoresheet as Torpedo downed Dinamo Minsk with a 6-3 score on Oct. 30, but contributed with an assist in both Torpedo’s games in the Southern Urals as the Nizhny Novgorod side first defeated Metallurg (3-2 OT), then lost to Traktor (1-4). On Sunday, with Torpedo losing 3-4 OT to Amur, Miele had a three-point performance, first getting two helpers in the first period, then tying the game at three with less than two minutes to go in the third period. With Torpedo down by one man, Miele got advantage of an error by Marek Langhamer to send the game to OT. The American forward has now 15 (5+10) points in 18 games, while Torpedo is the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference as the struggle for playoff qualification continues.