The Helsinki Jokers, who have won nine matches in a row, have risen to the top in KHL. The Jokers have managed to snatch wins even in tough matches, and the special situation game in particular has worked.
– Now we’re where we need to be. This has always been a goal, but we are still building the game, emphasizes the Helsinki Joker striker Markus Hännikäinen Yle Sport for after the morning ice.
The Jokers season started with two losses, but since then the team has made mere wins in the points column.
The Jokers are at the top of the Western Conference after nine consecutive victories. On Wednesday, there would be a tenth when Kazan will set up at home.
– We don’t live here until September, so it’s useless to start floating, Hännikäinen stumbles.
The Jokers have taken a clear win in the early season, but have also managed to drill a score home even in tough matches.
– Winning requires the team to follow the way they play. We have a really tight and good outfit piled up. Good mood in the dressing room. That, too, is a big reason why the game has gone through, Hännikäinen says.
Years in the NHL
Hännikäinen started his Finnish Championship league career in the Jokers in the 2011–2012 season. The road took HPK and JYP to North America for 2015–2020. The power striker accumulated NHL matches in the regular season 91 in the Columbus Blue Jackets.
– From there, a lot of experience and hard games took over. Good and bad things, but they grew a lot. I see that it has been a long way since I left Finland for North America.
In the fall of 2017, Hännikäinen knocked four points for four games in Columbus with little playing time.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, the Jokers won matches at a historic pace. The Jokers won as many as 15 matches in the tube, the current winning streak being the second best reading in its KHL history.
Why is the Joker game going?
The Jokers have been successful in their new acquisitions and there have been a wide range of solvers. Head coach Lauri Marjamäki has wanted to make filings especially for special situation gaming.
For example, a startup specialist Hannes Björninen has brought the necessary help to the team.
– The guarantee of success is special situation gaming. Start-ups play an important role and we have been really good at them. They are also in a surprisingly big position when it comes to winning, Marjamäki says.
– In terms of coaching, the bar must be kept high all the time and development targets must also be found in the winning streak, Marjamäki adds.
On Wednesday, the Jokerit will face Kazan in the five-match winning streak at home, for which it lost the season opener. Kazan have conceded just five goals in their previous five games.
– Now I think we are really measuring how close the top five we have. Small things are emphasized in such a fast-paced game, Hännikäinen predicts.
The longest winning streak in the jokers ’KHL history is 15 matches. With the Jokers in their record-breaking winning streak in the fall of 2017, there was enough gas in the spring playoffs until the semifinals of the conference.
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The Jokers strengthened their position at the top of KHL’s western block – the winning streak stretched to nine matches