Result of the day
Sibir – Salavat Yulaev 4-2. The charm of any season lies in its unpredictability, if it has any, and this KHL season has it in abundance. The clear leader of the whole tournament plays against a team who could not manage a three-point victory until their eleventh match, already some months into the season. And the latter wins - beautiful!
For the Ufa men, leadership has its negatives. While Sibir’s opponents do not necessarily have to be fully tuned in, then against Salavat Yulaev they always step out as if the final battle lies ahead. Besides, players who are veterans of previous championship-winning sides admit that they could not get used to this. You have no chance of taking a breather, you simply cannot rest up for even a second.
Vyacheslav Bykov’s team planned to repeat their old stunt of winning back one, two, even three goals. On this occasion the Novosibirsk men laid down their lives, defended their advantage, and even increased it, scoring into an unguarded net. It was the kind of game which could have gone either way. Sibir have probably realized that, with enough work, they can indeed win, and Salavat need to get better at evaluating the mood of their opponents.
In the day’s other matches, Lada lost to Ak Bars, 1-2, Metallurg Novokuznetsk were defeated in overtime by Barys, 2-3, and Avangard hammered Amur, 7-1.
Life is getting better
Sibir have taken points in four successive games for the first time this season. Three of these were victories in regulation time, the fourth was a defeat in the shoot-out. The Novosibirsk side have also entered the play-off zone for the first time this year.
Salavat Yulaev’s 16-game sequence of collecting points in every match has come to an end, as has Patrick Thoresen’s scoring run of ten matches in a row. To make matters worse, Viktor Kozlov received his first major penalty and has now climbed to third place in the table of his team’s worst offenders.
Finnish keeper Petri Vehanen conceded his first goal as an Ak Bars player four minutes after the starting face-off, but his side still emerged victorious. We will have a look at how the Kazan club’s other goaltender-legionnaires over the last five years began their spells with the side. Mikael Tellqvist conceded 5 minutes 55 seconds into his first game, and finished on the losing side. Wade Dubielewicz started with a win, letting in his first goal after 6 minutes 18 seconds. Frederick Norrena’s debut was a 0-2 defeat, but he did not concede until 24 minutes 43 seconds. Mika Noronen, in his first match, helped Kazan win in Khabarovsk (albeit only in overtime), and kept his goal intact for the first 11 minutes 19 seconds. Robert Esche made the best start of all, keeping a clean sheet on his debut, and spent 65 minutes 5 seconds guarding the Kazan goal before conceding. Fred Brathwaite is alone in being substituted in his first game, the change made after 25 minutes, and he conceded his first goal on 5 minutes 34 seconds.
18-year-old Novokuznetsk Metallurg defenseman Dmitry Orlov (pictured), having struck two goals against Barys, set a new personal scoring record at senior level. This is Dmitry’s third season in the national championship. In his first he played five matches and failed to score, he finished the second with one goal in 16 matches, but this time he already has three goals to his account.
Four times seven
In one and a half seasons in the KHL Avangard have struck seven past their opponents on four occasions. Besides Amur, the other victims were HC MVD, Sibir, and Dinamo Minsk. Omsk side handed out three of these thrashings at home, with only the club from the Belarus capital being unlucky enough to be caught in a hailstorm of goals on their own ice.
Figures of the day
42 shots on the Amur goal by Avangard.
6 shots on goal struck by Salavat’s Viktor Kozlov and Avangard’s Eric Perrin.
78.9% of 19 face-offs won by Barys attacker Jozef Stumpel.
25 minutes 53 seconds spent on the ice by Barys defenseman Kevin Dallman.
Yury Klyuchnikov (Sibir). Made 37 saves, helping his side to victory over the tournament leaders.
Erik Reitz (Sibir). Scored his first goal, which turned out to be the winner, and also made an assist.
Roman Savchenko (Barys). Scored the winning goal in overtime.
Jaromir Jagr (Avangard). Added two goals and two assists to his account.
Anton Kuryanov (Avangard). Scored the winning goal and made assists for two more.
Alexei Morozov (Ak Bars). Saved his team from defeat in Togliatti, making two pinpoint passes at the end of the match.
“For us this was the seventh match in fourteen days, and it’s very hard playing with such a schedule,” – Ak Bars head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov.
“It’s possible we were lulled a little by the result in Novokuznetsk but, on the whole, all the players tried their best,” – Salavat Yulaev head coach Vyacheslav Bykov.
“We tried to somehow rectify the situation by changing the goaltender, but it didn’t work out,” – Amur head coach Alexander Blinov.
Alexei Shevchenko, khl.ru