G, Avangard, 2 G, 2 W, 1 SO, 97.56%, GAA 0.50
The Czech Republic is well represented by goalies in the KHL, considering the presence of Jakub Kovar and Dominik Furch as regular fixtures of this column. However, this week is Simon Hrubec’s turn. The 29-years-old netminder, who recently moved to Avangard from Kunlun Red Star, has won four of five of his games with the franchise losing only to Amur on Nov. 15. Last week, the former Czech Extraliga champion and playoff MVP first shut out Ak Bars Kazan with an 18-save performance, then stopped another 22 attempts as Avangard downed Hrubec’s former team on Sunday. The Czech goalie’s shutout against Ak Bars was his third in the KHL. Hrubec is now having a career season and is currently Avangard’s starting netminder over the Russians Igor Bobkov and Emil Garipov. For his efforts, the KHL awarded Hrubec Best goalie honors for the 12th regular-season week.
F, Avangard, 3 G, 5 (4+1) points, +2
Avangard is one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, and Corban Knight has recently risen his standards and started delivering for the Hawks. The 30-years-old Canadian forward started the week with a double in the Eastern Conference top-teams showdown against Ak Bars. The Hawks played perfect defense, stopping the Kazan attack, while Knight netted a double, tallying in the first and third period as Avangard won 3-0 and gained a further two points in the standings. Three days later, on Nov. 26, Knight was instrumental again for the Hawks, netting another double, but this time adding an assist as Avangard downed Amur at home with a 4-2 score. This time, the Canadian forward, who last year lined up for Barys Nur-Sultan, scored the game-winner and an empty-netter that sealed the deal late in the third period. Knight also assisted on Yegor Chinakhov’s 2-0 goal in the game’s opening stanza. The native of British Columbia has now amassed a respectable 11 goals in 20 regular-season games, while the Hawks are the second seed in the Eastern Conference, trailing Ak Bars by four points, but with two games to play.
F, Ak Bars, 3 G, 5 (4+1) points, +1
If Dawes couldn’t score against Hrubec’s Avangard, he was unstoppable on Sunday, when he netted his eleventh career treble against Severstal. The Kazakh international also had an assist in the game against the Steelmen, which Kazan won with a comfortable 5-2 score. Dawes also scored a goal when Ak Bars had a SO win in Magnitogorsk — the prolific forward opened the score in the first period following an assist by the Frenchman Stephane Da Costa. In that game, Dawes also scored the game-winning shootout.
The veteran forward has yet another strong season, having so far produced 13 goals for the Tatarstan franchise — he’s once again in the top-10 players for goals scored so far.
F, Jokerit, 4 G, 4 (4+0) points, +1
The veteran forward, who is with Jokerit since 2015, was instrumental last week. With Jokerit playing a whole four games in just seven days, he first helped the Jokers defeating Dynamo Moscow at home with a crushing 6-1 score tallying a double — including opening the score after only sixteen seconds in the first period. After being silent in Jokerit’s defeat 3-2 to Torpedo, Joensuu netted another double when the Finnish franchise moved to the Moscow Region to face Vityaz. Unfortunately for the team led by Lauri Marjamaki, Vityaz prevailed in SO, but Joensuu scored two in the third period as the Jokers temporarily went ahead 3-2.
On Nov. 30, Jokerit played its fourth game of the week, traveling to St. Petersburg to face SKA. The Jokers got the last laugh in SO, with Joensuu once again being instrumental, netting the winning shot. With this win, the Finnish franchise climbed up to seventh place in the Western Conference in the standings, with at least five games to recover.
F, Dynamo Moscow, 3 G, 4 (2+2) points, +3
The Swedish import is gaining momentum as Dynamo is currently the fourth seed in the Western Conference. The #24 had an excellent week, even if it started with a harsh defeat against Jokerit when the Swedish player was silent but finished the game with a neutral plus-and-minus rating as Dynamo allowed six goals to the Finnish side. However, in the next two games, Lindberg posted a goal and an assist in each. First, he scored the goal that propelled Dynamo’s incredible comeback in the home 4-3 OT win over Lokomotiv. Then, he assisted Michal Cajkovsky’s tally in extra-time to defeat the Railwaymen. Two days later, Lindberg assisted on Ilya Shipov’s second of the night, then netted the game-winner as Dynamo downed Amur 3-2 at the VTB Arena. Lindberg, 29, produced 18 (5+13) points in 26 games. He also recorded 20 hits and amassed a plus-five rating.