Since being loaned back to HC Sochi for the rest of the season, Matvei Michkov has shown off the skill and talent that saw him drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers seventh overall this past summer. After being a healthy scratch in three out of four games for SKA St. Petersburg, Michkov has appeared in four games for Sochi and has flashed his skill in all of them. That showed in his two-assist performance in his first game.
He’s been able to find open space and had numerous chances before this game to pot his first goal. Once he was able to get that first one, surely that would lead to the floodgates opening. And they did just that as Michkov had a two-goal performance in Sochi’s 4-3 victory against Chelyabinsk Traktor. His second goal, the game winner, was scored with just 49 seconds left in the game. After Sochi forced a turnover in their own end, Artur Tyanulin banked a pass off the boards and up to Michkov. The latter skated in, toe dragged outside the faceoff dot and wristed one past the goaltender.
Michkov’s first goal came in the third period and originally tied the score at 2-2 before Traktor would once again take the lead. On an offensive zone possession, a shot by Jesse Graham missed the net and came around the boards. The puck perfectly bounced toward Michkov who quickly fired the puck into the empty net before the goaltender could slide back over. He was named player of the game after the victory. It was also the first time Sochi beat Traktor at home in seven years.
With his first two goals of the season, the Flyers prospect now has five points in his first four games with HC Sochi. He’s already fifth on the team in points despite playing five fewer games than the team’s leading scorer. Michkov is also averaging over 16 minutes per game.
A season ago, Michkov posted nine goals and 20 assists in 27 games for HC Sochi. If he is able to keep up his current pace, he will easily outperform those numbers. Flyers assistant GM Brent Flahr recently talked about the frustration of Michkov when he wasn’t playing with SKA and his excitement to now be getting the ice time he deserves. Maybe there’s a little bit of extra motivation on Michkov’s part to prove that he should’ve been playing the entire time.
"“Matvei was extremely frustrated not playing,” Flahr said. “He had a goal of being the top scorer in the league and he was sitting there. They have 40-something players on their roster. Obviously he was frustrated. As a young guy in Russia, you kind of have to bite your tongue and just put in the work and hopefully you get to play.”"
It may not have worked out in SKA, but Michkov is getting the opportunity to play now. And that dream of being the top scorer in the KHL, while a lofty goal, isn’t that far fetched if Michkov is able to use this most recent performance as a springboard for the rest of the season. The ice time is there and Michkov is making sure to make every second of it count.