D, Avangard Omsk
7 G, 3 (2+1) points, +3
Naturally, Kaski was the highlight of the week when he potted a double in a pulsating game seven that needed overtime to determine the team that will face CSKA in the Gagarin Cup finals. At his first year in the KHL, the Finnish defenseman resolved the most crucial encounter with a wrist shot from between the circles that went in right above Timur Bilyalov’s left shoulder after a fast breakout led by Sergei Tolchinsky. Kaski also had an assist earlier in the epic battle when Avangard shut out Ak Bars 2-0 in game two to grab an early two-game lead. The Hawks will now give CSKA a hard run for its money in the Gagarin Cup finals.
6 G, 4 W, 3 SO, 95.91%, GAA 1.02
Johansson has been incredible throughout the whole playoff round, but he was particularly impressive in the six-game series against SKA. Not only did he outplay his Swedish fellow countryman Magnus Hellberg, but he also had two shutouts in a row to start the series, then also allowed no goals as CSKA ended the series with an away 2-0 win on April 12. Johansson’s three-game shutout that spanned over the series against Lokomotiv and CSKA was the tenth-longest-ever in the KHL history. Not surprisingly, Johansson was awarded Best goalie honors for the Conference Finals stage.
7 G, 4 W, 1 SO, 94.30%, GAA 1.57
Hrubec’s play hasn’t been as spectacular as Johansson’s — yet he helped the Hawks in the most challenging time, and he saved the series with a couple of excellent saves in game seven’s OT before Kaski’s tally. The Czech netminder was solid throughout the battle against Kazan, particularly in game two, when he posted a 29-save shutout as Avangard ran away from Tatarstan with a two-game advantage. Oddly enough, he allowed the most goals in the victorious game seven, when the Hawks secured their second Gagarin Cup qualification in three years with a 4-3 OT win. Hrubec will naturally be a crucial player for the Hawks in the finals against the Red Army.
6 G, 4 (1+3) points, +5
The veteran blueliner was once again a key player for the Red Army. Not surprisingly, he was the player with the highest average time on ice for CSKA with more than twenty-five minutes a night. Other than showing excellent defensive awareness, the 34-years-old veteran had a pair of assists in game two’s CSKA shutout win and posted points in two other games, ending the series with a league-leading plus-5 rating. Robinson has been an instrumental piece in the Red Army’s puzzle, and for his efforts, he was awarded Best Defenseman honors for the Conference finals stage.
7 G, 5 (1+4) points, +1
The American forward has perhaps scored fewer goals than his average, yet he was critical for the Hawks when he netted the game-winner in game five’s OT. Rather than his lethal shot, Boucher exhibited excellent passing abilities in the series against Ak Bars, ending the epic battle with four helpers, including assisting on Ville Pokka’s tying goal in game seven’s third period. Boucher is a crucial player for Bob Hartley’s offense and he’s trailing only Sergei Tolchinsky in points and assists among Avangard forwards. He’s also the second Hawk for average time on ice after Corban Knight.