Saint Petersburg (17:00)
Nizhny Novgorod (18:00)
Saint Petersburg (19:30)
G, Avangard, 6 GP, 4 W, 94.8%, 1.61 GAA
The Czech star netminder had yet another incredible playoff performance against Ak Bars, emerging as one of the best players overall in the first round. Not only did he have striking performance against Kazan, but he was the lone goalie to record a shutout – and he did it twice, including in the decisive game six. The Gagarin Cup champion ended the classic clash with Ak Bars with a 23-save performance. The Czech started all the games for the Hawks and posted incredible numbers, and was awarded best goalie honors for the first round. Particularly remarkable was a highlight-reel diving save on Ak Bars’ Nikita Dynyak in game one. With such a game between the piping, it will be very hard for Metallurg forward to score Avangard in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
F, Severstal, 6 GP, 7 (4+3) points, +2
The Finnish forward was one of the best players in the first-round series against Dynamo Moscow, which Severstal lost 3-4, and unfortunately for Andrei Razin, he had to miss the decisive seventh game – who knows what the outlook would have been with Nattinen on the ice for Severstal. Nattinen was instrumental in Cherepovets’ first pair of wins in Moscow, when he had two two-point games in a row as Severstal won twice on a row against the Blue-and-Whites. He had the same performance in game six, when Cherepovets were in a do-or-die situation as Dynamo was up 3:2. However, Nattinen had to miss game seven, which the Muscovites won 2:1. Surely, the forward #14 would have made the difference in the game.
F, Dynamo Moscow, 7 GP, 8 (2+6) points, +3
The Canadian forward has been excellent for Dynamo in the series. After being silent in the first couple of games, when Severstal achieved two wins, he had a five-game scoring streak that culminated in the game seven’s assist for the series-clinching goal by Vyacheslav Voynov in the first period. O’Dell posted two points and the game-winner when it mattered the most – after Severstal’s pair of wins in the early series, and he kept his series alive in game four, when the Blue-and-Whites achieved a hard-fought, OT victory to tie things up. O’Dell had another couple of points in game five and finished the series tied in second place for points scored, trailing only his teammate Voynov.
F, Dynamo Moscow, 7 GP, 7 (1+6) points, +3
The Swedish veteran was instrumental for Dynamo Moscow in the series against Severstal, not only for his offensive contribute (he scored points in five games), but also for his physical play, two-way positioning, and game on the dots. Lindberg was also second in time on ice among all Dynamo forwards, trailing only Vadim Shipachyov. He was also second in blocked shots, faceoff percentage, and shifts per game. Lindberg’s contribution was invaluable for the Blue-and-Whites, and CSKA will have to a strong opposition in the Western Conference’s semifinals with the line of Shipachyov, Lindberg, and O’Dell.
D, Traktor, 4 GP, 4 (2+2) points, +1
Chelyabinsk got rid of Neftekhimik in just four games, but the result shouldn’t disguise – it has been harder than what it may look at a glance. However, Bailen had a strong performance for Traktor, scoring at an average of one point per game and celebrating its 250th KHL point in game three. Chelyabinsk won 3:2 OT that night, and the prolific defenseman had a goal and a helper. Bailen was tied with Lukas Sedlak and Tomas Hyka as his team’s top scorer, and lead the Chelyabinsk side with more than twenty-two minutes a night. He will naturally play a key role for Traktor in the second-round series against Salavat Yulaev.