Helenius, Riku

SM-liiga Game Day: 12-2-11

The legend continues to grow...

SM-liiga (Finland):
JYP 6 @ Tappara 0
Riku Helenius, JYP, Win, 15/15, SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Season totals: 13 GP, 8-5-0, 6 SO, 1.31 GAA, .940 sv%

Today was the 3rd or 4th time this season I've gone to look at the results from Finland and said to myself, "No bleeping way!" Riku Helenius (pictured) continues to bend the rules of time and space, as he shut out Tappara today on 15 saves in JYP's 6-0 win. Ex-Lightning forward Eric Perrin had 1 goal and 3 points in the win. JYP plays SaiPa on Saturday.

I get that JYP is a very good defensive team. I get that Riku is benefiting greatly from playing behind a very good defensive team. But, with 6 shutouts in 13 starts, and considering his tandem-mate Joni Myllykoski doesn't have any shutouts in 15 appearances, it's become something you can't dismiss anymore. At this stage, it's reminiscent of how people used to dismiss Martin Brodeur because he played behind a very strong defensive team in New Jersey. And, yet, it's not like you could have plugged any goaltender in there for New Jersey and won championships, and the guy now holds or is close to holding just about every goaltending record in the book.

No, I'm not saying Riku Helenius, who at this time last year was getting routinely clobbered as a backup for Sodertalje in the Elitserien after being excommunicated from North America by the Lightning, is another Martin Brodeur. But, then again, doesn't it seem like he might be justifying the belief that the Lightning had when they drafted him 15th overall in 2006 that there might be something special about him?

And, aren't you a little curious what he could do if the Lightning got him back to North America, too?

European Game Day: 11-29-11

SM-liiga (Finland):
KalPa 2 @ JYP 1
Riku Helenius, JYP, DNP
Season totals: 12 GP, 7-5-0, 5 SO, 1.42 GAA, .937

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but if you had a goaltender who has had a shutout in 42% of his starts through 12 starts, wouldn't you put him in net more? In any event, Riku Helenius sat backup today to Joni Mullykoski in JYP's 2-1 loss to KalPa. JYP draws Tappara on Friday.

MHL (Russia Jr.):
CSKA Jr. 3 @ Togliatti 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

Where in the world is Nikita Kucherov? The talented forward has yet to appear since the end of the Subway Super Series in Canada. He was not in the lineup again today as CSKA Jr. beat Togliatti Jr. 3-2. Kucherov's linemate for both CSKA Jr. and the Super Series had 1-1-2 in the win. CSKA's big club plays tomorrow. Will Kucherov surface there?

Elitserien (Sweden):
Timra 2 @ Lulea 1 (SO)
Johan Harju, Lulea, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 25 GP, 9-4-13, +4, 8 PIM

Johan Harju was scoreless and failed on his shootout attempt in Lulea's 2-1 loss to Timra. That is a bad loss for Lulea to the last place team on the Elitserien table. They'll try to rebound on Thursday against Skelleftea.

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.

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.

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