D, Jokerit, 3 G, 3 (1+2) points, +6
SKA started slow, but the St. Petersburg side is in full swing now, especially after signing a few players with the season already going — including forward Nikita Gusev and defenseman Mikko Lehtonen. The productive blueliner returned to the KHL with a bang. On his first game with SKA, on Monday, Lehtonen had a three-point performance. The Armymen downed the Hawks with a 5:1 score, and the blueliner first tied things up in the second period, then he added a pair of helpers later in the game for a fantastic debut. Lehtonen didn’t score any point in the next couple of games, but he compiled a plus-3 differential and logged more than thirty minutes a night. SKA is currently on the top of the Western Conference, and Lehtonen’s signing only made the St. Petersburg Armymen even better. For his efforts, Lehtonen was awarded Defenseman of the week honors.
G, HC Sochi, 3 G, 3 W, 97.06%, GAA 0.67, 1 SO
The Black Sea franchise had a rocky start of the season, but things started moving better for them after Andrei Nazarov was hired as the new team’s head coach. In particular, Hellberg had a tremendous last week, helping Sochi winning three games in a row. On Tuesday, Hellberg had a 17-save performance allowing only one goal to Vityaz in Sochi’s 3:1 away win. Two days later, Sochi again won 3:1, this time against Spartak, with Hellberg being much busier and rejecting 27 shots by the Red-and-Whites. If that’s not enough, the towering Swedish netminder had a 22-save shutout on Saturday, keeping his net clear for the 26th time in his KHL career and helping Sochi catching up Vityaz in the Western Conference’s standings. It won’t be easy for the Black Sea franchise to qualify for the postseason, but Hellberg is giving the team a chance. For his efforts, he was awarded Best goalie honors last week.
F, Metallurg, 3 G, 5 (4+1) points, +4
The Steel Foxes are on a fantastic six-win streak and only lost twice this season — the Magnitogorsk side is currently topping the league with 44 points against Traktor’s 38 and SKA’s 37. One of the best Magnitka players last week was Josh Currie. The forward interrupted a four-game drought and was in top shape — he scored in all the games and compiled a plus-4 differential. Moreover, Currie netted the game-winner in two straight matches for Metallurg — first in the Thursday game against Ak Bars, then on Saturday when Magnitka had the best of Vityaz. Currie is having an excellent first KHL season, and Ilya Vorobyov will need his points to continue pursuing the Continental Cup as the league’s regular-season winner.
F, Dinamo Riga, 2 G, 4 (1+3) points, +1
Last week, the Latvian franchise had a decent showing, gaining a point against SKA and defeating Dynamo Moscow on Sunday. In both games, one of the pivotal players for Dinamo Riga was Lukas Radil. The Czech forward scored two points in both encounters — he started the week opening the score in Dinamo’s hard-fought loss to SKA, adding a helper later. On Sunday, Radil had two assists when the Latvians downed Dynamo Moscow 4:1 to gain two precious points and tighten the gap from the eighth-seeded Spartak. The Latvians are just three points from the playoff line, and they will face HC Sochi on Friday in a do-or-die match.
F, Avtomobilist, 3 G, 3 (2+1) points, +5
The Frenchman is once again in the league’s top-10 for scoring, with 24 (11+13) points produced so far for Avtomobilist. Moreover, on Saturday, he reached 300 career points when he helped the Motormen trashing Kunlun Red Star at home (8:0). Da Costa started the week with a goal and an assist in Avtomobilist’s losing effort against Kazan (2:3), then was silent on the scoresheet when the Yekaterinburg side defeated Vityaz 5:2 at home. Avtomobilist is currently the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and Bill Peters will need Da Costa’s offensive skills to close the gap with Kazan and perhaps aim at a top-four finish.