With rumors swirling that one or more of Pavel Rosa, Viktor Aleksandrov, and Maxim Yakutsenya could be headed to St. Petersburg in exchange for Jaromir Jagr’s lockout-year center Maxim Sushinsky, it was Avangard Omsk’s second line of Alexander Popov, Anton Kuryanov and future Ranger Alexei Cherepanov that led the team to a dominant 4-0 victory in Khabarovsk today. John Grahame got his second shutout of the season, stopping 14 shots as the Hawks won their fourth straight under interim head coach Igor Nikitin.
Popov got Omsk on the board at 15:56 of the first period with an even strength marker from the slot off a nice feed from Kuryanov from behind the goal line. The line struck again at 6:10 of the second when Cherepanov and Kuryanov, who’d finish with three assists in the game, combined to feed Nikita Nikitin for an even-strength point shot that beat Khabarovsk goalie Taylor Moss through a screen.
The lone goal the line wasn’t responsible for came on the power play at 4:36 of the second off the stick of Dmitri Ryabikin, who’s gotten an extended tryout on Jagr’s opposite wing and has performed well. Assists went to Dmitri Pestunov and Alexei Bondarev. Cherepanov capped off the scoring five minutes later when he tapped in a feed from Kuryanov on a perfectly executed 2-on-1. Popov was credited with the secondary assist on the even strength goal. Each member of the line finished the game a +3.
You can watch the archived game for yourself at Sportbox, or catch the highlights on the KHL’s web site. The two teams face off again in Khabarovsk Friday. After the post-game comments made by their coach — calling his team’s performance “a disgrace” and promising “serious consequences” — you can bet Amur will come out eager to improve upon their lackluster 14-shot effort.
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