Result of the day
Spartak Moscow – Dynamo Moscow 4-2. Several people have puzzled recently over what is happening to Dynamo, and no one has ever solved this mystery. A partial explanation is that Dynamo are a team in transition, but inexplicable lapses are appearing, and now the players find themselves losing successive matches. One thing is clear: they are the most unpredictable team.

It is much more interesting to see what is happening at Spartak. Only two days ago Milos Riha was scathing towards his players after they lost to Dinamo Riga, accusing them of taking the match too lightly. He named the game against the Latvians as their worst, was clearly fuming at his players, and on Wednesday his conversations with them were still icy cold.

It seems the players felt duly ashamed, knowing they had let down the supporters, the coach, and themselves. They can certainly play, so why lose points by apparently taking a rest in the middle of the season. The way they played today, Spartak could have even beaten a team of the world’s best. This was easily the best the Red-and-Whites have played so far, having all the trump cards while their opponents simply had nothing up their sleeves. It is a shame they cannot put together a run of such performances. Or can they? It will be fascinating to watch Milos Riha’s team in their next two matches.

In the day’s other matches, Atlant narrowly beat SKA in overtime, 2-1, Ak Bars were beaten by Lada, 1-2, Lokomotiv won convincingly against Dinamo Minsk, 4-1, and HC MVD defeated Dinamo Riga, 4-2.

First victory
Lada gained their first win since the departure of goaltender Vasily Koshechkin. Up till now, things had not been going too well with Alexei Anisimov and Alexei Semenov, with 22 goals conceded in five games. Today, however, Semenov helped his club take three points, and this in an away game, and against the reigning champions. Since 2005, Alexei had only been turning out in the lower league, so this is his first victory at the level graced by the country’s strongest sides.

Zaripov comes to a halt…
Ak Bars attacker Danis Zaripov’s long run of earning points in every game has come to an end. In 13 straight matches, the forward had either scored or set up a goal, but all he earned today was a 10-minute penalty.

… and so does Sushinsky
Maxim Sushinsky set a record for this championship by taking points in 16 successive matches, although for Maxim it was merely a repeat of his own personal best. In the entire history of national championships, no one can match the record set by Sergei Zinovyev, who earned points in 22 straight games while playing for Ak Bars.

Unlucky
Dinamo Minsk have broken the KHL record for the number of goals conceded into an empty net, the Belarus club now having one more than Torpedo’s total of 8 goals. Seven of the nine occasions when the puck glided into an unguarded Minsk goal was when they substituted Andrei Mezin, and the other two when they pulled Vitaly Koval.

Well-behaved streak
HC MVD attacker Alexei Kudashov has finally ended his long run of games without receiving a single penalty. For 25 matches the forward did not commit a single offense worthy of punishment by the officials, and did not spend a second in the sin bin. And Alexei’s two minutes of penalty time was the HC MVD team’s total for today’s match against Dinamo Riga.

Losing streak
Never before in KHL history had Dynamo Moscow lost four straight matches in regulation time. In this bad patch Andrei Khomutov’s team have conceded 15 and scored only 5.

Figures of the day
35 shots at the Spartak goal from the Dynamo Moscow players.

27 minutes 10 seconds spent in play by SKA defenseman Sergei Zubov.

7 shots on goal by Spartak attacker Stefan Ruzicka.

70% of 20 face-offs won by Lokomotiv forward Josef Vasicek.

Key players
Martin Gerber (Atlant). Saved 22 shots, conceded just a single goal, and helped his team take two points from the match against the Western Conference leaders.

Marat Kalimulin (Lada). Scored one goal and finished the match with a rating of +2.

Jaroslav Obsut (Spartak). Spent 24 minutes on the ice and earned an efficiency rating of +1.

Sergei Mozyakin (Atlant). Made one assist and scored the decisive goal in overtime.

Zbynek Irgl (Lokomotiv). Set up one goal and scored two himself, one of them short-handed.

Vladimir Gorbunov (HC MVD). Scored a double in the match against Dinamo Riga.

Quotes
“You need to play from the first minute till the last, and not just when you’re up against it.” – Ak Bars head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov.

“I would like to apologize to our supporters for this match.” – Dynamo Moscow head coach Andrei Khomutov.

“The players understood from my mood that I was angry with them.” – Spartak head coach Milos Riha.

Alexei Shevchenko, khl.ru

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