|2009 Continental Hockey League (KHL)|
KHL Eight turn: prospects report from Magnitogorsk
Russianprospects.com has been back to Arena Magnitogorsk to have a look at the Metallurg Magnitogorsk challenge aired for the eight turn of the 2008/09 Continental Hockey League. Ak Bars will be without Kirill Petrov (New York Islanders) as the perspective forward is reported out with a two and half Ė three months injury, could even miss the WJC.
After a very good and entertaining game, Ak Bars Kazan got the best of Metallurg Magnitogorsk by beating them 5-3. Ilya Proskuryakov has been iced by HC Metallurg head coach Valery Belousov trying to shake the team up after Mezinís recent poor play, but Canadian Wade Dubielewicz has outplayed him with his twenty-eight saves, but the young home goalkeeper hasnít played badly at all.
Ak Bars started the game attacking and gained the gameís first goal with a well timed one-timer by Nikita Alexeev (Chicago Blackhawks) after a nice feed from Grigori Shafigulin from the right side. Metallurg finally got some home support after the average of around 1200 spectators of the first bunch of matches and has tied it up at the fifteenth minute with a great one-timed slap shot by Kaigorodov from the left circle after a good, short backward pass by Jan Marek. The home team tried hard to go ahead before of the first horn, but unsuccessfully despite a powerplay in the late two minutes.
The second period started with Metallurg still with the man advantage, but Ak Bars got the first chance after a few seconds. A quick counterattack is concluded by Panin, but the shot is gloved by Proskuryakov. Once the initial shock has passed Metallurg starts controlling the ice, but another counterattack is lethal: midway through the game Shafigulin invents a great rush in the offensive zone and after skating past two defenseman puts the puck between Proskuryakovís pads for a beautiful goal. One minute later Kuzmin could make it 1-3, but another good glove save by Proskuryakov denies the chance. Ak Bars carries on pushing the gas and at the thirty-third minute Buravchikov with great timing sees Kapanen in front of the goalie and serves him nicely. The Finn deflects the puck that much thatís enough to puts it in for the two-goal advantage. The home team though reacts and gets quickly a double powerplay, converted in goal with a nice looking combination by the first line finished by Kaigorodov after an accurate pass from Jan Marek. Thanks to this late second period goal the game is still open.
In the third stanza HC Metallurg pushes disperately seeking the tying marker. At the eight minute mark there was a huge scramble in front of the net resulting in a Kurdna shot being in the net with the goaltender Dubielewicz. The refs called no goal on the sequence.Lass than three minutes later all the Metallurgís efforts are awarded as Kudrna picks up a shot by Seluyanov rejected by Dubielewicz and makes it 3-3. The momentum is now clearly on the home teamís side, but during a four-on-four stretch Ak Bars finds a way to score the go-ahead goal: Alexeev with a great back hand pass finds Pervyshin on the left whose slapshot goes where Proskuryakov canít really arrive. In the final instants of the match Belousov tries the desperation move by pulling the goalie, but with another quick counterattack Ak Bars scores the fifth goal and closes the dances.
Alexei Kaigorodov (Phoenix Coyotes): Great match for him. Despite being one of the top KHL playmakers he racked up a double with a big time slapshot and with a nice short range conclusion. Metallurgís first line, featuring him centering undersized Alexei Simakov and Czech Jan Marek is really pleasant to be seen.
Andrei Pervyshin (St. Louis Blues): Keeps on being part of the first line. Plays very well with the puck and is learning to effectively use his body to throw around the opponents. Very active also in the offensive side, scores the GWG with a powerful slapper from the top of the left circle.
Vyacheslav Buravchikov (Buffalo Sabres): Just like Pervyshin, he keeps on improving, especially on the attack which is his strong point. Very good assist to Kapanen for the 1-3 goal, moves well around and is effective in the own zone.
Alexei Emelin: Forming the top shutdown pair with Panin, he delivers another solid performance. Heís skating very well this season and seems to have improved a bit this aspect of the game. Exaggerates a bit a couple of time with the goalie protection, but keeps on being an important member of Ak Barsí defense.
Grigori Shafigulin: Game-breaker performance: great assist for the first goal, steps up to score personally the second with a great rush past a couple of opponents. He could be an important man for his team if he manages to play well on a more consistent base.
Mikhail Zhukov (Edmonton Oilers): Average. Got little more than ten minutes on ice, but he couldnít conclude anything. He was also average on the faceoff spots. To be revised in the next few matches.