|It was a fun ride Geno, time to bring it back here.|
NHL/Former NHL Players You May Recognize
Lubomir Visnovski, Andrej Sekera, Miroslav Satan (injured)
- Magnitogorsk assistant coach Tom Barrasso was fined for "abuse of the officials" in the previous game: http://en.khl.ru/news/2013/1/6/24976.html
- Standings Update: Magnitogorsk sits in 3rd place in the West with 81 points. Bratislava is 5th in the East with 59 points.
- KHL Scoring Race Update: Mozyakin entered tonight's game with the lead (65), 3 points ahead of Malkin (52) and 15 points ahead of Alexander Radulov (50).
- Starting goalies: Jaroslav Janus for Chelyabinsk and Ari Ahonen for Magnitogorsk.
- Injury report remains the same: Cal O'Reilly, Oleg Tverdovsky, and Evgeny Biryukov out.
- Of course, with the NHL Lockout ending, this is likely the last game for Evgeni Malkin, Nikolai Kulemin, and Sergei Gonchar. Ryan O'Reilly's situation remains to be seen as an NHL restricted free agent.
|Paul Maurice *tear*|
As the puck dropped and I began chanting "please don't get hurt", it was clear Magnitogorsk would get off to a sluggish start. Within the first shift, both Malkin and Kulemin avoided traffic with the puck and it made you wonder how much effort they were actually going to put in. The teams played a seemingly contact-free game for the first 5 minutes before Slovan defender Andrej Sekera (of the Buffalo Sabres) took a tripping penalty. Metallurg dominated the offensive zone but had very few chances on the powerplay, which ended early as Kulemin took an interference penalty trying to retrieve a rebound. Slovan capitalized on their powerplay as Viktor Antipin fell a step behind Milan Bartovic, who proceeded to tap a perfect pass from Libor Hudacek into the net.
A few minutes later, Yaroslav Khabarov put Slovan back on the powerplay when he covered the puck with his hands for a delay of game penalty. Bratislava scored with the man advantage yet again on a wrist shot from the left side by Hudacek. The period ended 2-0 in favor of Slovan and Malkin's finale looked like a dud early on.
|He wasn't going out without a fight.|
The top line struck again just seconds later as Malkin won the faceoff, Kulemin skated the puck into the offensive zone and passed it across the ice to Mozyakin, and Mozyakin one-timed it into an almost empty net as Janus could not react quickly enough. In a span of 12 seconds in the finale minute of the period, Magnitogorsk took a 2-0 deficit and turned it into a tie game in front of a stunned Slovan crowd.
|It was a nice try, Antipin.|
Overtime came and went with barely any chances. Slovan had the best shot but Ahonen fought it off with his blocker easily. As Magnitogorsk carried their 0-9 overtime record to a shootout, the ending was rather clear. Ryan O'Reilly missed on his first chance while Mario Bliznak scored for Slovan. Both Evgeni Malkin and Jan Lipiansky were stopped in the second round. Sergei Mozyakin came up with a shootout tying goal in the 3rd round and Ahonen stopped Michal Vondrka to keep the game alive. However, Mozyakin was unable to score on his chance in the 4th round and Mario Bliznak scored his second of the shootout to win it for Slovan. Make that 0-10 in overtime.
Final Score: Slovan Bratislava 4 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3 (SO)
Box Score: http://text.khl.ru/en/35139.htmlMagnitogorsk drops to 24-0-10-7 and Bratislava improves to 14-7-5-14.
|The last of many Gonchar-Malkin-Mozyakin celebrations.|
Evgeni MalkinMalkin finished the game with 1 goal, 2 assists, 7 shots, 11 for 26 (42.3%) in faceoffs and 2 PIM in 23:21 of ice time. After a slow start, his competitive fire erupted as he figured in to every Magnitogorsk goal of the day. As usual, Sergei Mozyakin also figured into every goal, so Malkin finishes his KHL season still in 2nd place in scoring, behind Mozyakin. I hate to see those two broken up, there was incredibly chemistry between them and it was really something special to watch.
Malkin's Final KHL Stats: 37 games, 23 goals, 42 assists, (65 points), +23, 58 PIM, 226 shots, 10.2% shooting, 492/899 faceoffs (54.7%), and averaging 22:26 TOI.
Goal breakdown was 12 even strength, 10 powerplay, 1 shorthanded
Nikolai KuleminKulemin added 3 assists in this game and, as usual, was the perfect 3rd musketeer for the Malkin-Mozyakin combination. He helped create space for both players, frequently chased down loose pucks, and kept defensemen honest.
Kulemin's Final KHL Stats: 36 games, 14 goals, 24 assists, (38 points), +25, 26 PIM, 98 shots, 14.3% shooting, 11/21 faceoffs (52.4%), and averaging 19:27 TOI.
Goal breakdown: 7 even strength, 7 powerplay
Sergei GoncharGonchar went pointless in his final Magnitogorsk game, but also was not on for any of the PP goals against at least. He played on the 2nd pairing as usual and made a quiet exit out of the KHL.
Gonchar's Final KHL Stats: 37 games, 3 goals, 26 assists, (29 points), +20, 40 PIM, 92 shots, 3.3% shooting, and averaging 21.39 TOI.
Goal breakdown: 2 even strength, 1 powerplay
Next Game: 1/8, 1pm EST @ Lev Praha
The rest of the Magnitogorsk schedule is here: http://en.khl.ru/calendar/222/01/3995/.
Good luck to Metallurg Magnitogorsk and their fans!! Thanks for everything!