Other than Portland's Taylor Leier, there wasn't much going for the WHL Wednesday (CP Images)
Buzzing The Net's 3 Stars from Game 5 of the Subway Super Series, won 3-2 by Russia over Team WHL. The Russians have won three straight and have a 16-13 edge in goals.
No. 1 Star - Ivan Nalimov, Russian Selects (SKA-1946, St. Petersburg)
You could perhaps pick apart the performance of one or two top defencemen, but you have to look no further than between the pipes to see why the Russian Selects have won three consecutive games in the Series. Team OHL out-shot Russia 43-22 in Game 3 and 52-23 in Game 4, with Team WHL out-shooting Russia 44-25 in Game 5. The CHL clubs have only scored six goals in that span.
It's not like Ivan Nalimov has had to fight off a bevy of chances, but the Western Hockey League selects got a few good looks against the Russians in the fifth game. Being junior hockey, where not every goal is going to be a Grade-A chance in front of the net, and goaltenders at this age are prone to the odd gaffe, you can't fault Nalimov for the quality of shots he's faced because he's been almost perfect on everything else. All that beat him Wednesday was a puck that hopped right onto Griffin Reinhart's stick, and a shorthanded breakaway. Nalimov had to be sharp late. He held firm against the post on a shot with 90 seconds left, pinning the puck until it was frozen before Nic Petan drove the net and poked it in, albeit after the whistle. Nalimov shook off that collision to rob Taylor Leier on the doorstep moments later.
Evaluating goaltenders is difficult, because some goalies make difficult saves look easy, and some manage the opposite, so all you can really look at is the saves a goalie makes. So far, through four games? Nalimov is 3-1 with a 2.25 goals against average and an incredible .945 save percentage.
No. 2 Star - Alexei Baskov, Russian Selects (Omskie Yastrebi, Omsk)
Baskov scored the winning goal in this one, and was the most dangerous forward for Russia, paired with the two Western Hockey League Russian players to join the team exclusively for the game in Red Deer, Seattle's Alexander Delnov and Saskatoon's Nikita Scherbak. While that line had its chances, the winning goal was mostly an individual effort, chipping the puck up by Kelowna defenceman Madison Bowey and sliding the puck past Tri-City's Eric Comrie, in net for the WHL in this one.
Read More »from WHL Star Power thwarted by Russia’s Ivan Nalimov: Super Series 3 Stars