G, Ak Bars Kazan, 2 G, 2 W, 1 SO, 98.28%, GAA 0.50
The Swedish netminder had a tremendous week this time around, allowing only one goal to Avangard on Friday. Reideborn, at his second season in Tatarstan, has improved his numbers in pretty much any stat and has already collected three shutouts — as many as he did last year, but requiring 16 fewer games. In his second game of the week, Reideborn had a 36-save performance shutting out Torpedo for his fourteenth victory of the season. The Stockholm native, who just turned 29, is currently leading the league with a 93.8 saves percentage and a goals-against average of 1.65. His three shutouts put him in fifth place in the standings. Last year, Kazan went on with Bilyalov on goal in the postseason; maybe this season, Reideborn will have a chance in the playoffs. Ak Bars currently sits on top of the league’s standings with 74 points — a whole 12 points off Avangard, who follows in the Eastern Conference.
D, Avtomobilist, 4 G, 2 (1+1) points, +4
German imports are relatively a rarity in the KHL, but Avtomobilist decided to sign another one after having Brooks Macek in its lineup. The move started paying off, as the Motormen are now back to victories after a rocky period in December. After playing for a decade in North America, Holzer signed in Yekaterinburg in November, and it looks like he finally finished adapting to his new reality. On Sunday, the Munich native opened his account in the KHL beating Simon Hrubec in Avtomobilist’s 4-1 win over Avangard. Two days earlier, Holzer had a helper in the Motormen’s 2-1 win in Minsk.
Moreover, the German international started shooting more, and his average time on ice surpassed 18 minutes a night. Avtomobilist is now the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, and if the Urals franchise keeps this pace, they may overcome both Metallurg and Salavat Yulaev in the standings. For his efforts, Holzer was awarded Best defenseman of the week honors.
F, Avtomobilist, 4 G, 7 (4+3) points, +5
Another crucial player for the Motormen last week was Peter Holland. The Canadian forward scored points in all games and was awarded Best forward honors. The Toronto native, in his second year in Yekaterinburg, had a point in each of the week’s first couple of matches, then his production skyrocketed. First, he tallied a double in Minsk, then had a three-point game when Avtomobilist downed Avangard on Sunday. Yekaterinburg has now recovered, and it may become a formidable team to deal with in the playoffs.
G, Avtomobilist, 2 G, 2 W, 1 SO, 98,25%, GAA 0.50
Naturally, when Avtomobilist is on a winning streak, Kovar is usually a highlight for the Urals franchise. This week was no exception, even if Vladislav Gross replaced the veteran netminder in a couple of games. However, Kovar shut out Spartak on Jan. 13 with 27 saves, then stopped another 29 on Sunday, when Avtomobilist defeated Avangard. The Czech netminder is now at 44 career shutouts — will he reach 50 before the end of the season? Moreover, he also has an excellent chance to break the 200-win mark.
F, Torpedo, 3 G, 3 (2+1) points, −1
It wasn’t the best week for Torpedo. The Nizhny Novgorod franchise won only once, against Avangard, with Andy Miele getting one goal and one assist. The American forward is currently the team’s second scorer, trailing only Damir Zhafyarov. Miele has produced 39 (16+23) points for Torpedo, against Zhafyarov’s 50. The Michigan native is also second among all Torpedo forwards for average time on ice. At his second year in the KHL, the veteran forward had already improved his numbers since the 2018-2019 season, when he amassed 32 (16+16) points in 61 regular-season games for Torpedo. The Nizhny Novgorod side is currently the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, and they have fantastic chances to clinch a playoffs spot for the eighth straight season.
F, Salavat Yulaev, 3 G, 4 (2+2) points, +1
The Ufa’s newcomer was the best of Salavat Yulaev’s Finnish connection this week, being instrumental for his side, especially on Thursday. Granlund posted a three-point performance in Ufa’s 6-3 victory over Barys, helping the Bashkortostan franchise staying in third place in the Eastern Conference standings. Granlund also netted a goal on Saturday, when Ufa lost to Metallurg Magnitogorsk with a 2-3 score. The Oulu native was silent on the scoresheet on Tuesday, when Salavat Yulaev got the best of Sibir, gaining two points with a 3-1 victory. Ufa’s head coach Tomi Lamsa will need a more productive effort from his Finnish players when the KHL teams approach the playoffs. However, the season has been a great success for them, with Teemu Hartikainen beating a 12-years-old record for the most single-season points (51) scored by a Finnish player and Granlund hitting 45 (21+24) in only 38 games.