Nesterov, Nikita

Lightning Prospect WJC Preview

Five Tampa Bay Lightning prospects will proudly don their home country’s sweater this holiday season to compete in the Under-20 World Junior Championships. The WJCs are arguably the most exciting international hockey tournament outside of the Olympics and playing for one’s country during this event is a career builder.

Last year Carter Ashton, Brett Connolly, and Canada came up short in the finals, allowing five third period goals to Russia in the gold medal game to lose, 5-3. Host team USA beat Sweden for the bronze in Buffalo, New York.

The last Lightning prospect to win a gold medal was Dustin Tokarski for Canada in 2009 when “The Tik” was player of the game in the championship game – a win over Victor Hedman and Sweden. Dana Tyrell was also a part of that Canadian team, but was injured in pre-tournament action and missed the tournament.

Here’s a look at each Lightning prospect participating in this year’s event, to be held December 26 through January 5 in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. Check NHL Network listings for broadcasts.

SM-liiga Game Day: 12-7-11

SM-liiga (Finland):
JYP 0 @ Pelicans 1 (SO)
Riku Helenius, JYP, DNP
Season totals: 14 GP, 8-6-0, 6 SO, 1.51 GAA, .931 sv%

Riku Helenius sat backup to Joni Myllykoski as Myllykoski posted his first shutout of the season (Helenius has 6) only to fall to defeat in the shootout. JYP outshot Lahti 33-24 in the match, but no cigar. JYP draws Blues Espoo on Friday.

Elsewhere, Nikita Kucherov and Nikita Nesterov have been named to Russia's 2012 U20 World Junior Championships preliminary roster, and began participation in Russia's pre-tournament camp which will run from 12/7 to 12/18 in Novogorsk.

KHL Game Day: 12-6-11

KHL (Russia):
Chelyabinsk 2 @ Ekaterinburg 1 (OT)
Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals (KHL): 7 GP, 0-0-0, +9, 4 PIM
Season totals (MHL): 23 GP, 6-9-15, +12, 20 PIM

Nikita Nesterov was scoreless in 9:50 in Chelyabnisk's 2-1 overtime win over Ekaterinburg. Ex-Leafs draft pick Vladimir Antipov had the overtime winner. The two teams rematch on Friday.

Dynamo Moscow 2 @ Cherepovets 1
Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, DNP
Season totals: 20 GP, 9-8-0, 1 SO, 2.76 GAA, .914 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin did not dress in Cherepovets' 2-1 loss to Dynamo Moscow. Ex-Lightning prospect Marek Kvapil had the winner for Dynamo, his 6th of the season. Cherepovets draws Novgorod on Thursday.

Word on the street: the latest rumor is that Nikita Kucherov may have been nicked in the Subway Super Series and that the Russian Hockey Federation may be holding him out of play to keep him healthy for the U20 World Junior Championships. Grain of salt.

KHL Game Day: 11-30-11

KHL (Russia):
Cherepovets 1 @ Chelyabinsk 4
Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk, 0-0-0, +3, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals (KHL): 5 GP, 0-0-0, +9, 4 PIM
Season totals (MHL): 23 GP, 6-9-15, +12, 20 PIM

Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, Loss, 22/25, 3.10 GAA, .880 sv%
Season totals: 19 GP, 9-8-0, 1 SO, 2.76 GAA, .914 sv%

Give it another month, and Nikita Nesterov might lead the whole league in +/-. The young blueliner was +3 with a minor for interference in Chelyabinsk's 4-1 smackdown of Vasily Koshechkin and Cherepovets. The blueliner's +9 KHL mark is quickly catching up to his solid +12 mark so far this year in junior play in the MHL. Cherepovets draws Dynamo Minsk on Sunday. Chelyabinsk gets Ekaterinburg on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Nikita Kucherov did not appear for CSKA in their 3-2 shootout loss to Novgorod. However, his junior linemate Nikita Gusev was called up for the game. No word yet on a potential injury/illness.

KHL Game Day: 11-28-11

KHL (Russia):
Cherepovets 7 @ Astana 1
Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, Win, 33/34, 1.00 GAA, .971 sv%
Season totals: 18 GP, 9-7-0, 1 SO, 2.75 GAA, .916 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin got off the pine and bathed in sweet, sweet goal support in Cherepovets' 7-1 bulldozing of Astana. Ex-Bruins prospect Mikko Lehtonen had a pair of goals in the victory. Cherepovets draws Chelyabinsk on Wednesday.

Spartak Moscow 1 @ Chelyabinsk 7
Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk, 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals (KHL): 4 GP, 0-0-0, +6, 2 PIM
Season totals (MHL): 23 GP, 6-9-15, +12, 20 PIM

Nikita Nesterov played a season high 15:48 as Chelyabinsk crushed Spartak Moscow 7-1. Ex-NHLers Stan Chistov and Deron Quint each had helpers in the win. Chelyabinsk squares off with Cherepovets on Wednesday.

KHL Game Day: 11-26-11

KHL (Russia):
Chekhov 1 @ Chelyabinsk 5
Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk, 0-0-0, +4, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals (KHL): 3 GP, 0-0-0, +4, 2 PIM
Season totals (MHL): 23 GP, 6-9-15, +12, 20 PIM

Nikita Nesterov was +4 in 12:19 of ice time in Chelyabinsk's 5-1 thumping of Chekhov. Ex-NHLer Stan Chistov had a helper in the victory for Chelyabinsk. They face Spartak Moscow on Monday.

Cherepovets 2 @ Ekaterinburg 3 (SO)
Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, DNP
Season totals: 17 GP, 8-7-0, 1 SO, 2.86 GAA, .912 sv%

Vadim Tarasov again got the start for Cherepovets in their 3-2 shootout loss to Ekaterinburg. Cherepovets draws Astana on Monday.

European Game Day: 11-25-11

SM-liiga (Finland):
JYP 1 @ Jokerit 0 (SO)
Riku Helenius, JYP, Win, 26/26, SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Season totals: 12 GP, 7-5-0, 5 SO, 1.42 GAA, .937 sv%

12 starts, 5 shutouts. 42% of the time JYP has started Riku Helenius (pictured) this season, he's pitched an 0-fer. In today's shutout, Helenius ran the table with 26 saves in regulation and overtime before slamming the door on every single Jokerit attempt in the shootout. JYP's shootout goal by Antti Jaatinen ended up being the only time the goal light was turned on all night for either club. Helenius grabbed second star honors for his efforts, and JYP moves on to face KalPa on Tuesday. At what point does Helenius start playing his way back into the conversation as a legitimate NHL prospect for the Lightning? It would be the greatest Bolt Prospects story ever.

KHL (Russia):
From 11-24-11
Chelyabinsk 4 @ Dynamo Minsk 2
Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals (KHL): 2 GP, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM
Season totals (MHL): 23 GP, 6-9-15, +12, 20 PIM

Nikita Nesterov earned a post-Super Series callup to the KHL side and was scoreless in Chelyabinsk's 4-2 win over Minsk. He played 8:09 in the match and took a minor for high sticking in the first period. The d-man had played very limited minutes in one other KHL game earlier this year. Chelyabinsk's big club plays Chekhov next on Saturday.

MHL (Russia Jr.):
Astana Jr. 3 @ CSKA Jr. 2
Nikita Kucherov, CSKA Jr., DNP
Season totals (MHL): 14 GP, 13-15-28, +8, 28 PIM
Season totals (KHL): 10 GP, 0-1-1, -1, 2 PIM

Despite 2 late goals, CSKA Jr. fell short 3-2 to Astana Jr. Nikita Kucherov did not dress for CSKA Jr. They will rematch on Saturday.

Elitserien (Sweden):
Lulea 3 @ HV 71 1
Johan Harju, Lulea, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 24 GP, 9-4-13, +4, 8 PIM

Lulea starter Johan Gustavsson stopped 21 of 22 shots he faces to lead his club to a 3-1 win over HV 71. Lulea faces Timra on Tuesday. They're currently 4th on the Elitserien table.

KHL Game Day: 11-20-11

KHL (Russia):
Chekhov 1 @ Cherepovets 3
Vasily Koshechkin, DNP
Season totals: 17 GP, 8-7-0, 1 SO, 2.86 GAA, .912 sv%

Koshechkin temporarily unseated as Cherepovets' starter? Veteran Vadim Tarasov made his second straight start and upped his save percentage to a .944 mark in Cherepovets' 3-1 win over Chekhov. Chekhov is coached by ex-Lightning forward Andrei Nazarov, who infamously tried to attack Dynamo Moscow fans behind the Chekhov bench with a stick earlier this season. Fellow ex-Lightning forward Nick Tarnasky was scoreless in the match for Chekhov, as well. Cherepovets plays Spartak Moscow on Tuesday.

MHL (Russia Jr.)
Chelyabinsk Jr. 5 @ Mytischi Jr. 3
Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk Jr., 0-1-1, +1, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 23 GP, 6-9-15, +12, 20 PIM

Jet lag was not a problem for Nikita Nesterov, as he assisted on a second period goal in Chelyabinsk Jr.'s 5-3 win over Mytischi Jr. in his first game back from the Subway Super Series. He also had a minor for interference in the match. The Polar Bears are off until Friday when they face St. Petersburg Jr.

European Game Day: 11-19-11

SM-liiga (Finland):
HPK 4 @ JYP 1
Riku Helenius, JYP, DNP
Season totals: 11 GP, 6-5-0, 4 SO, 1.56 GAA, .930 sv%

JYP was bounced hard by HPK in the second half of a home-and-home 4-1. JYP will get quite a few days off to lick their wounds, as they don't play again until Friday against Jokerit.

Elitserien (Sweden):
HV 71 2 @ Lulea 1 (OT)
Johan Harju, Lulea, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 22 GP, 8-3-11, +2, 8 PIM

Johan Harju's second period goal wasn't enough offense for Lulea, which fell 2-1 to HV 71. Ex-Oilers draft pick Mikko Luoma had the winning goal in overtime. Lulea gets Linkopings on Wednesday.

With the Subway Super Series now over, look for Nikita Nesterov to possibly return to action for Chelyabinsk Jr. tomorrw against Mytischi Jr. CSKA Jr.'s next game is Tuesday against Khanty-Mansiysk Jr., and that game may be Nikita Kucherov's first back.

Subway Super Series: Game 6 (11-17-11)

WHL All-Stars 5 vs. Russia 7

Nikita Kucherov, Russia, 2-1-3, +5, 2 PIM (hooking)
Series totals: 6 GP, 4-3-7, 2 PIM

Nikita Nesterov, Russia, 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM
Series totals: 5 GP, 0-2-2, 2 PIM

Kucherov and Russia finished with a bang to tie the overall Superseries between CHL teams and Russia 3-3. The Russians were down 4-2 and 5-3 at different points in the game before they came roaring back. Kucherov's second goal came on a "beauty of a breakaway" as one reporter put it. Nikita Gusev, the undrafted pint-sized scoring star who is a teammate of Kucherov's for CSKA's junior team, was player of the match for Russia with a goal, two assists, and a plus-5 rating. Kucherov finishes the series against Canada's best junior competition at more than a point per game. While defense takes a back seat in these series, it is still encouraging that he can score with the best of his age group.

Syndicate content