|2009 Continental Hockey League (KHL)|
After a good preseason, culminated with the Governor Cup victory, Atlant youngsters keep on having room in the roster, especially three of them, Alexander Bumagin (Edmonton Oilers), Anton Lazarev and Andrei Zubarev (Atlanta Thrashers). Russianprospects.com has observed them playing fourth line hockey in the second round KHL match between Atlant Mytischi and Vityaz Chekhov.
The game starts in Atlant's favour as after two minutes Bulis has a nice chance, but he puts it wide from three meters. The home team insists with Vadim Khomitsky, but Vityaz's reply is more dangerous as Kolesnik, preferred to Emery after his bad game in the first round against Spartak, has to commit hardly to get in position and reject a good shot from between the circles by newcomer Spylo.
After a successful penalty killing, Atlant gets another chance with Denis Arkhipov, then Lazarev with a smart shoot from the goal line puts it in the back of the net after a good feeding by Bumagin, but the referee disallows it as Boikov was in the blue area.
Two minutes later, at the fifteenth, the former Maple Leaf Igor Korolev gets in the sin bin and thus Vityaz could obtain a powerplay opportunity, but it's only with the teams at full strength that the guests manage to be dangerous: Chris Simon shoots, but it gets deflected by a defender. Derrick Walser picks it up and scores in the empty net, Kolesnik still out of position seeking the puck on the left. After the opponents' goal, Atlant reacts and gets the man advantage because of a foul play by Dmitri Megalinsky, but nothing happens and at the first horn Vityaz is ahead by one.
The second period starts with Atlant set in attacking mode and the fourth liners get the first chance at the second minute with Lazarev, nicely saved by Volkov. Four minutes later it's them again: Bumagin sends the puck to Boikov, who rapidly serves Lazarev, but Volkov says no. Boikov's line good shift goes on and when Bumagin with a spectacular acceleration in the neutral zone takes possession of the puck the crowd gets on their feet, but the consequent backhander isn't too accurate and the goalie saves. During the rush the ref seen a penalty and so Atlant is again with the man advantage, but this time they don't waste the chance and ties it up with a very nice wristshot by Finn Esa Pirnes, left too open by Vityaz's defense.
Midway through the game the young line keeps it alive: Bumagin serves Boikov behind the crease, Lazarev is wide open in front of the goalie, but his one-timer crashes against Volkov's pads. The one-team shows continues. Vladimir Evseev got penalized, then it's Verot's turn when he can't contain Lazarev on the left. Vityaz kills penalty after penalty but two seconds to the second buzzer Sergei Mozyakin (Columbus Blue Jackets), with Igor Radulov sitting on the bench, finds the right angle with an accurate wrist shot from the right circle, after a nice feed by Mukhachev. At the end of the second period Atlant got their deserved advantage, but the one-goal difference doesn't reflect Kanareikin's team dominance.
In the third period the game is still open, in theory, and a penalty against Mozyakin could permit Vityaz to tie things up, but Bulis steals the puck to Bezrukov and serves Johansson, whose top-shelf wrist shot makes it a 3-1 game.
A few moments later a great duet Korolev – Bulis puts the first in front of the goalkeeper, but a monumental sliding, stick-save by Volkov keeps his team alive. Volkov repeats himself at the twelfth on Leschev, but two minutes later Mozyakin closes the match with a laser wrist shot from the left circle.
Analyzing Bumagin's, Lazarev's and Zubarev's match
First of all we have to say that the fourth line has played a surprising match, being the best line on ice in the second period and the second best overall, behind Mozyakin's unit. They all click well together, with Boikov serving as playmaker and Lazarev playing it more freely with the puck on the stick. Bumagin completes the mix with his good timed passes and stunning accelerations, as well as his improved defensive coverage. Let's notice that most of their shift have been against a line featuring Darcy Verot and Chris Simon, not exactly the most comfortable players to play against. Zubarev doesn't play a significant role in the team's defense, but is a core member of the team and a solid blue liner.
Andrei Zubarev (Atlanta Thrashers)
Passed this summer from Ak Bars to Atlant, Zubarev has still to get into the new team's play. Just like under Bilyaletdinov, he plays a defensive style of hockey, with his role being mostly to check hard back in the zone trying to give less room as possible to his opponents. He managed to do that well, completing his good effort with a very high percentage of successful passes and only a little error at the twenty-third minute, that brought the opponent line to a shot well controlled by Kolesnik. His game wasn't too noticed and he's the kind of defenseman that the less you see him, the better he plays.
The game's surprise. He played an amazing match, showcasing an excellent puck handling joined with a great set of wheels. His movements with the puck put in serious difficulty the opponent defense throughout all the match, especially in the central period. He had at least three scoring chances plus a voided goal and this show two things: the first is that he can arrive close to score in different ways, both with and without the puck, but also that he has to improve his finishing skills because such chances should be converted into goals. Other than the clear scoring chances he had some good time in passing the puck especially in the first period, when he nicely launched his line mates who couldn't spoil the chances.
Alexander Bumagin (Edmonton Oilers)
Bumagin played a very good game confirming his versatility. He served very well as set up man, his passes have been accurate in several occasions especially in the offensive zone. Other than his technique he also showed to be in possess of a burning acceleration, like demonstrated at the twenty-sixth minute. Even though a match isn't enough to judge, he seems to have got some defensive responsibility: used as a tip in a 1-3-1 system he put a decent pressure on the opponent's attacks and skated hard to get back once they went away, putting on some board battles when needed. He can have a very nice season if he keeps on playing focus on both ends like he did today.