Kravtsov scores in second straight game back from injury

new york rangers

Vitali Kravtsov of the New York Rangers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

New York Rangers first round draft pick Vitali Kravtsov’s missed almost a month but it has not slowed him down

In the second  game of a back-to-back series with Amur, New York Rangers star prospect Vitali Kravstov scored again, his second goal in two games since returning from a lower body injury.  He opened the scoring for Traktor and they went on to win 2-1 before 2,130 spectators in the Platinum Arena in Khabarovsk.  Traktor jumped out to a 2-0 lead and hung for the one goal victory, their fifth win in the last six games.

Kravtsov’s goal was a tip-in of a point shot by  blueliner Igor Isayev.

Kravtsov planted himself in front of the crease and won the battle with the Amur defender to get the deflection. The goal came with just under two minutes left in the first period and broke a scoreless tie.

Kravtsov played 21 shifts for 15:47 minutes of ice time. He finished with a plus/minus of +1 and is now +8 on the season.  He drew one penalty and took four shots.  That gives him 50 shots in 13 games, an average of 3.9 shots per game, one of the best in the KHL.

For the season he now has eight goals and two assists for ten points.  Seven of his goals have been scored at even strength.

The win improved Traktor’s record to 11-1-2-6 (W-OTW-OTL-L) for 26 points.  They are now only four points out of first place in the Kharlamov division with a game in hand.

Traktor’s success could be an issue for the Rangers.   The KHL season is due to end on February 27.  The top eight teams in the two conferences make the playoffs.   If Traktor was destined to miss the playoffs, it would be easy to recall Kravtsov from his loan to the KHL and bring him to training camp in December.

If Traktor is a playoff contender, and they are currently in fourth place in the Eastern Conference,  the Blueshirts may be better of leaving him in the KHL.   They would have to decide if he would be better off coming back to the United States to contend of a job on the Rangers or if it would help his development to get playoff experience in Russia.

Kravtsov is making a statement with his outstanding play and it may be an easy decision for the Blueshirts.  The way he is playing, he could end up contending for a top six role on the Rangers as opposed to a bottom six slot.    His next game is Wednesday against Torpedo, let’s see if he can keep up this torrid scoring pace.

In other KHL action,  CSKA took on Kunlun Red Star, coached by former Ranger Alexi Kovalev. Ranger defense prospect Yegor Rykov did not dress for the game.  For you Ranger trivia fans, former Blueshirts Danny Kristo and Ryan Sproul are playing for Kunlun.  In fact, the entire starting five for Kunlun are Canadians.

In the Swedish junior leagues, a coronavirus outbreak on the Linköping J20 team has sidelined Rangers eighth round pick, goalie Hugo Ollas with the entire team quarantined.   Both of their games this weekend were cancelled.

European action heats up on Tuesday with a full schedule in the Swedish Hockey League.