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Top Plays of the Week by Locked out NHL Superstars

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent INovember 3, 2016

Top Plays of the Week by Locked out NHL Superstars

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    Despite NHL labor talks scheduled to start back up this October according to ESPN.com, countless NHL superstars are busy playing hockey overseas and in other, perhaps lesser-known leagues. 

    From defending Stanley Cup champion Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings to the reigning league MVP Evgeni Malkin, a long list of the NHL's best are showcasing their talents elsewhere this fall.

    Meanwhile, across North America, millions of bitter hockey fans await an agreement that may or may not be reached sometime this year. 

    Here we bring you something to cheer about, by highlighting the week's top five plays from the NHL's locked out superstars. 

5. Malkin Skates the Distance for the Score

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    Reigning Hart Memorial Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin finished off Metallurg's 3-0 shutout win over Amur in style after skating three-quarters of the ice with the puck and putting it in past the goalie. 

    The talented Pittsburgh Penguins center recorded 50 goals and 59 assists for the Pens in 70 games last season. Malkin became the first Penguin to win the NHL's league MVP award since Sidney Crosby did it in 2006-07.

    Whenever the lockout ends, the 26-year-old Russian will surely be back to his old ways of making defenders look foolish and goalies seem helpless. 

    His MVP-worthy goal is deserving of the No. 5 play of the week.

4. Chara Foils Makarov's Big Hit Attempt

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    Boston Bruins big man Zdeno Chara made SKA St. Petersburg's Igor Makarov look foolish on Saturday when he took a shot from Makarov and barely budged.

    The 6'9" defender is renowned for his size and strength, which Makarov got a taste of this past weekend. Unfortunately for Chara and his KHL club, Lev, SKA's Vladimir Tarasenko would score late to give Moscow the 4-3 win.

    Chara recorded a career-high 52 points in 79 games with the Bruins last season, and helped Boston to a Stanley Cup title in 2011. 

    Most fans can't wait to see Chara's devastating slap shot return along with the NHL.

3. Datsyuk Makes First KHL Goal Look Easy

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    Pavel Datsyuk, center for the Detroit Red Wings, scored his first KHL goal of the season for CSKA Moscow in stunning fashion last Thursday when he capitalized on some careless play by the Spartak Moscow defense.

    Datsyuk would go on to score the game-winning goal for CSKA in overtime.

    A versatile star, Datsyuk put up 67 points in 70 games last season for the Red Wings. The 10-year NHL veteran has 718 career points in 732 career games with Detroit.

    Although he only had the goalie to beat, the incredible individual effort makes this score worthy of being No. 3.

2. Kovalchuk Gets a Brilliant Assist

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    New Jersey Devils star Ilya Kovalchuk lifted the crowd to its feet last Wednesday when he finished off a superb feed from teammate Viktor Tikhonov. Although Kovalchuk's club, SKA St. Petersburg, would fall to Neftekhimik in a shootout, the goal still earns a shout-out in our top plays of the week.

    The No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 NHL Draft, Kovalchuk scored 37 times in the NHL last season, and was clutch in leading the Devils to the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals. 

    He scored eight goals and recorded 11 assists in 23 postseason games last spring, cementing himself as one of the NHL's most lethal wing players. 

    At least we know Kovalchuk is keeping his goal-scoring reflexes sharp during the lockout.

1. Ovie Strikes Gold on the Power Play

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    Washington Capitals star winger Alex Ovechkin put his KHL club, Dynamo Moscow, up 2-0 on Slovan after finding nothing but net on this sensational power-play goal.

    Dynamo would go on to win 3-2. Ovechkin has three goals and five assists for his new club after just seven appearances on the ice. 

    The Russian star was fifth in the NHL in goals scored last season, tallying 38 in 78 games. Ovechkin has nearly 340 career NHL goals since entering the league in 2005. 

    We can only hope that the NHL players and owners come to an agreement soon so that we don't have to miss any more of Ovie's power-play gems.

     

    Follow me on Twitter and tell me which play should have been No. 1.

    Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter

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