After a tough start to the season and a media storm in Russia after returning from the World Juniors, Vasily Podkolzin is beginning to put some points up in the KHL.
The Canucks’ 2019 first-round pick has been criticized for his inability to score in the KHL this season but over the past week, he has been silencing those critics.
Podkolzin is currently on a three-game point streak and two-game goal streak in what many consider the second-best professional hockey league in the world. He is still playing fourth-line minutes and still rarely used on the power play but is finding a way to put up goals at even strength.
Since returning from a disappointing finish at the World Junior Championships, Podkolzin has been a healthy scratch once and played in five games, where he has averaged just over 12 minutes of ice time.
He began his scoring streak on January 19th when he sent in Maxim Groshev on a partial breakaway and received the primary assist on the goal.
He followed that game up with a goal in his next outing on January 21st.
Correction: Vladislav Tsitsyura was the player that made the pass, I tweeted out the wrong name…
After the game on the 21st, Podkolzin’s KHL team, SKA, went on a five-day break before getting back in action on Tuesday.
Podkolzin was absolutely flying in that game, he was a fiend with the puck and was showing a lot more confidence than we have seen from him in the past at the KHL level. To a degree, it felt like he was back playing at the WJC.
He was rewarded for his hard work when he buried his second goal in two games when he stole the puck and flew down the wing before ripping a wrist shot just under the glove of the opposing goaltender.
He has been working for and earning every second of his ice time. Starting each game on the fourth line and playing more time in third periods because of his strong two-way play. He is being defensively responsible too, as it’s been over 75 minutes of ice time since he has been on for a goal against. His line is consistently driving play and he was just reunited with Kirill Marchenko, a player with who he showed chemistry early on this season.
Podkolzin does such a good job in the defensive zone and it shows as he is near the top of the league when it comes to goals against. His current goals against per 60 minutes is 1.55. That is an incredible rate.
The puck is starting to bounce Podkolzin’s way and it’s about time. He does every little thing right in the game of hockey and finally he is being rewarded for his effort.