The NHL off-season may feel interminable as August rolls on, but that doesn’t mean other leagues aren’t starting to kick into action. The KHL pre-season is well underway and the season is fast-approaching, but rookie netminder Alexei Krasikov looks like he’s already in mid-season form.
In a tune-up game against the defending Gagarin Cup champions, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Krasikov made a spectacular stick save. It’s not as if the stop was on just anyone, either, as Krasikov turned aside Sergei Mozyakin, the league’s defending scoring champion, with the lunging stick stop.
After Mozyakin was spotted curling around the backside of the goal, he received a beautiful cross-ice pass at the side of the net, slowed the puck and pulled the trigger only to watch the 20-year-old Sibir Novosibirsk netminder thrust his paddle out and knock the puck safely to the corner. Take a look:
Mozyakin is one of the best snipers in the KHL, and that he was turned aside in such a fashion by Krasikov, who has never seen a single game of KHL action, is astounding. This past season, Mozyakin potted 32 goals and 67 points in 57 games and he added another 11 goals and 25 points in 23 post-season games.
One save on a KHL superstar likely won’t earn Krasikov a job with Sibir, but his overall play has Krasikov in line for a look with the club this coming season. He posted a 2.15 goals-against average and .942 save percentage with Sibir’s MHL club during the 2015-16 season and he was an all-star in the minor league.
There’s a slight roadblock in his way with Czech netminder Alexander Salak the no-doubt starter for Novosibirsk this coming season, but Krasikov could very well duel with off-season acquisition Pavel Shegalo for the backup job.
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