|2008 Super League|
Russian Superleague Round 46 Ė Khimik Mytischi vs Ak Bars Kazan
Ten prospects, four of them are not yet drafted, have been iced in the forty-sixth round match of the RSL Khimik Ė Ak Bars. Like in many of the recent games, Alexander Bumagin (Edmonton Oilers) isnít dressed for Khimik. The match is played in an almost full Arena Mytischi. Bilyaletdinov has decided to break up the ZZM line in order to equilibrate more the lines, thus Zinoviev will play in the third line while Arkhipov, in the first.
The first chance of the match is built by Zinoviev, who serves Andrei Zubarev (Atlanta Thrashers) with a backhand, smooth pass. The defender doesnít shoot a one-timer, but decides to go ahead searching for the accurate shot, Kolesnik blocks it nicely. Itís Kazanís third line though that is the best at the start of the game, and thanks to it Ak Bars goes ahead: with a clever backhand pass from the right, Zinoviev centers the puck. The rushing Zubarev arrives four meters in front of the crease and deflects it in for the 1-0. At the fifth minute Ak Bars gets near to the second goal. Zaripov serves Morozov who turns and shoots, but it goes just wide. On the other front Khimikís first line replies with Andrei Mukhachev (Nashville Predators), whose shot canít get past Esche. †The game is very entertaining and played at high pace. At the ninth minute, good rush by Vyacheslav Buravchikov (Buffalo Sabres) in the offensive zone. He manages to arrive to shot after some strides with the puck on the stick, but Kolesnik rejects his attempt. Ak Bars insists and the Kazakh goalie (former NHL player with the Colorado Avalanche) saves Morozovís shot again. But Khimik doesnít give up and half way through the period ties the score: Ekman steals the puck to Hentunen. He plays the puck right side, where Ilya Krikunov touches for Bulis who get in the offensive zone, and after a couple of strides explodes a shot who gets in. Nothing to do for Esche, who just seen the shot gets into the crease on his right. After the tie mark, Boikov has to skate to the penalty box for holding. The guests get near to the goal with Giroux, but Kolesnik goes down to the ice and glove-saves in style. Ak Bars keeps attacking but at the thirteenth Bulis manages to break away with the puck, great save by Esche to reply to Kolesnikís highlight-reel one. †The action goes on, on the other side of the rink as Oleg Petrov plays the puck towards Hentunen in front of the goal. The disc hits the skate of the Finn player and goes in, but the referees call the goal not valid as Hentunenís kick was meant as intentional. This was really a tough decision to take, because the player of Ak Bars surely did nothing to avoid the collision with the puck, but he was also skating when the puck hit him and thus the ricochet wasnít much evitable. †After the controversial call, Khimik can go on a powerplay as Zubarev plays too physically while containing Poperechniy. Mytischi Arena loudly incites the home team, but they canít get past the very good penalty killing of the opponents. The scene reverts when Captain Pronin is sent off for hooking, but Kolesnik stops all the rushes and at the first rest the score is tied 1-1. Very good first period played by both teams, with interesting combination and much will to play a nice game.
In the second period Khimik is on attack as soon as they hit the ice. †Good combination Pronin Ė Bykov, Esche saves with the pads. The home team insists. Vlasenkov with an aggressive forechecking gains the puck. It goes right to Nesterov who shoots, Esche gets a piece of it with the glove, nice save. Ak Bars gets back on attack with the first line, and is Zaripov who fails an easy chance, deflecting backwards a good pass by Morozov, with Kolesnik out of play.
But the second period is all about Khimik. At the fifth Nesterov tries again the fortune after a won boardplay, but his shot gets gloved by Esche. The game heats up. An error by Metlyuk liberates Dmitri Kazionov on the right. He centers it for Obukhov, who came put down from behind by young Anton Lazarev. The number 90 is sent to the penalty box. Kazan team smells the opportunity and Morozov and Chayanek test Kolesnikís skills. The Kazakh repeats himself a bit later, at the ninth, on Kazionov. Good pressure by the guests, but the goal doesnít arrive. Khimik can take a breath when the ref whistles two minutes against Ilya Nikulin (Atlanta Thrashers) because of a foul on Ekman, who wasnít playing the puck. Home teamís play with the man advantage is not their main strength, but an open slapshot from Maxim Semenov (Toronto Maple Leafs) puts pressure on Esche, who kicks it away. Khimik keeps pushing and at the fourteenth a very good combination between the two youngsters of the team, Anton Lazarev and Pavel Chernov, sends the latter to the shot, but his deflection is rejected by Esche, in good shape tonight. The action goes on, Boikov serves Lazarev behind the goal. He wraps around the net, turns and shot, Esche closes well the gates. With Grigory Shafigullin out. Khimik can furtherly push the gas and at the thirty-sixth they pass deservedly ahead: Krikunov burns Stepanov on the left flank, centering the puck for Bulis. The Czech has the open net in front of him and canít miss the 2-1 mark for his thirteenth goal of the season, the second of the night. Khimik keeps attacking. Poperechny serves Leschev, good save by Esche on the deflection.
Only in the dying seconds of the second period Ak Bars manage to get in attack again with a couple of shots by Hentunen and Morozov, easily controlled by Kolesnik. An excellent second period by the home team, who is now in control of the game, ahead by only one goal though. The difference could be even higher if Khimik players had concretized more their chances, but we also have to admit that Esche is playing very well.
After a few seconds of play in the third period and Khimik gets again on a powerplay, but canít conclude anything with the man advantage, arriving at the shot only once with Bykov, gloved by Esche. The teams get back at full strength and Ak Bars hunts the tie. Ekman floors Oleg Petrov and gets in the sin bin. A few seconds later Dmitri Kosmachev (Columbus Blue Jackets) puts it over the glasses and itís five-on-three. With the double man advantage the guests tie the game. From behind the goal, Hentunen serves Andrei Pervyshin (St. Louis Blues), on top of the left circle. The Blues prospect with a lethal wrister puts it in the top left corner. Nice goal, the sixth of the season, for the defender native of Arkhangelsk. The game restarts with Ak Bars still on a powerplay. Zaripov holds too much the puck and Mozyakin manage to gets it out of him. The former CSKA captain serves Pronin who goes on a breakaway, but his shot is rather weak and can be easily saved by Esche. In this occasion Pronin has probably rushed too much the attempt. The game keeps being in Khimikís favour, and they have three straight powerplays to close the game, but their play isnít good at all, and their bad display is underlined by crowdís whistles. Three minutes to the horn Pervyshin has another chance, with an action similar to the second goalís one. Hentunen serves him from the back of the net, but his wrist shot this time is stopped by Kolesnik with the shoulder. In the last minute of the regulation Khimik pushes, but Escheís multiple saves send the game to the Over Time.
One minute into the extra time Hentunen breaks in the offensive zone, but his slapshot is well saved by Kolesnik. One minute later Ak Bars has a good time in attack with Zinoviev and Petrov. The first serves the second who exploits a positioning error by Kolesnik to put the puck top-shelf to close the game.
Good game indeed, where Ak Bars put the maximus grabbing a victory in a match that could be triumphed by both teams.
Alessandroís prospect of the game: Ilya Krikunov
Two assists and tons of accelerations. Ilya is a dangerous player because of his speed and technique, but also has displayed good mental attributes. He is a smart player too.
Ilya Krikunov (Vancouver Canucks), Vancouver Canucks
A good player, complete in the offensive zone where he can pass or shot. He displayed all his smartness in this game, especially in the first goal by Bulis which he assisted with a cleaver smooth touch in the neutral zone. His click with the Czech player is an excellent offensive weapon for his team.
Dmitri Kosmachev (Columbus Blue Jackets), Columbus Blue Jackets
Heís improving since the last seasons, but he tends to do many errors. He suffered speedy players as Zaripov or Hentunen. He is also not always in the correct position, but can recover with his size. Must stay more concentrated, or he will keep to make stupid errors like the penalty he got for delay of game at the start of the second period that costed Khimik the lead.
Pavel Chernov, 2008 eligible
Pavel Chernov is a 1990 born who plays as center. This is his second year in Mytischi, after he left Spartak Moscow when they folded back in 2005. During the first shift with him as playmaker, Khimik fallen twice to icing, but heís grown with the time. He also won his fair share of faceoffs, and fought well along the boards. Good player.
Anton Lazarev, 2008 eligible
Anton is the other 1990 of the team, and he plays as wing. Like Chernov, itís his second year with Khimik and the first in which heís involved in the main teamís games. He always plays with great commitment and passion, but is too passive on defense like many Russian young players. His high commitment leads him to be a good forechecker. As well as his linemate Chernov, he started slow, but when he took more confidence he played an interesting game with even a goal chance.
Ak Bars prospects
Andrei Pervyshin (St. Louis Blues), St. Louis Blues
Andrei has played a very good game, and has even scored a nice goal, playing as usual in the second defensive pairing with young veteran Ilya Nikulin (Atlanta Thrashers). His excellent match has though a blotch as he was anticipated by Krikunov in Bulisí first mark.
Andrei Zubarev (Atlanta Thrashers), Atlanta Trashers
Like Pervyshin, he played an excellent match. He plays in the third line with Alexei Emelin (Montreal Canadiens). He scored a goal too, and has showed finally some technique as he played a bit the puck more than usual. He played aggressive and protected well Esche.
Yakov Seleznev, undrafted
Hasnít played too much. At the twelfth minute he almost made a huge error because an overplay of the puck, but he managed to recover. To be revised.
Vyacheslav Buravchikov (Buffalo Sabres), Buffalo Sabres
Buravchikov has played finally as he was expected to play. Polished and technique, I hope that this is the game of the breakthrough for him. He also had a good scoring chance at the start of the game.
Alexei Emelin (Montreal Canadiens), Montreal Canadiens
Not much to say about him. He played the whole match as unnoticed and this is usually good for defensive minded defenders as it shows that he made no errors. He played well along the boards, staying solid. He deserves the call from the national team he just got for the LG Hockey Games in Sweden.
Kirill Petrov, 2008 eligible
He skated a lot in this game, without getting many good pucks. †He feels more the defensive responsibility than in his earlier days with the pros, looking more mature as a player.