Jaromir Jagr got his first goal, Alexei Cherepanov got his first point (maybe), and John Grahame got his first shutout, as captain Alexander Svitov lead Avangard Omsk with two goals and an assist to a dominant 6-0 victory over their old coach, Valeri Belousov, and his new team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, in Avangard’s home opener today.
Svitov got Omsk off to an early start, picking up his own rebound after a rink-length rush and scoring on a wrap-around only 1:25 into the game. Grahame then kept his team in the lead, facing his most serious pressure of the game when the Hawks once again ran into penalty trouble mid-way through the period, including giving up a full 1:47 of 5-on-3 time.
But Omsk broke things open in the second, scoring four goals, starting with Evgeni Gladskikh’s at 3:05 and followed just over five minutes later by Anton Malyshev’s, both the result of a pair of miscues by the Metallurg defense, which the Rangers will undoubtedly look to exploit themselves when they meet last year’s European Champions in the Victoria Cup later this month.
The two quick goals chased Magnitogork’s starting goalie Andrei Mezin to the bench. He was replaced by Ilya Proskuryakov, who could do little to stem the tide, though the change did seem to give Magnitagorsk a brief lift.
Jagr’s much-anticipated first goal came on the power play at 15:06 — a perfectly placed wrist shot from the right faceoff dot off a nice feed by Jakub Klepis. Jagr also added an assist on Svitov’s second goal, Omsk’s last, later in the 3rd period.
Cherepanov returned to the lineup after missing 2 games with a groin injury and was credited with an assist on Bondarev’s goal in the closing seconds of the 2nd period (though having watched and re-watched the game and highlights, it’s still not clear why… and not every box score shows it. The KHL still hasn’t posted updated stats on their web site, but the Omsk website does credit him with an assist on their statistics page). Cherepanov looked to be skating freely and generated a number of scoring chances.
Svitov capped off the scoring at 6:34 of the 3rd on assists from Alexander Popov and Jagr, after Omsk head coach Sergei Gersonsky was forced to juggle his lines as the result of an injury to the index finger of Cherepanov’s usual center, Anton Kuryanov. At last report, the team was awaiting x-rays to determine the severity of the injury before speculating on how much time he might miss. Metallurg also lost a top player, when leading scorer and former Ranger draft pick Jan Marek, who’s rights were part of the trade that brought Sean Avery to Broadway, went off with an unspecified injury.
Grahame wasn’t tested much after the first period, but played a far better game than he had in Omsk’s season opener. For a brief moment it looked like he had lost his shut out with less than 3 minutes to go, but the apparent Magnitigorsk power play goal was waved off after it was determined Grahame was interfered with. The shut out earned him second star of the game behind Svitov. Jagr was named 3rd star.
Omsk hosts Alexander Radulov and last year’s RSL champions Salavat Yulaev Ufa on Friday at 8am EDT. Once again the game will be available live via sportbox.ru.
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