Result of the day
Barys Astana – Atlant Moscow Region 4-5 SO. Both these clubs are far from being the tournament favorites but on their day can take points from any opponent, and both are consistent in their inconsistency.

Only recently we were all delighting in the exploits of the men from Astana, but now things are looking far from good: five straight defeats, and not just to the likes of Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Salavat Yulaev, but also to Avtomobilist and Severstal, and their performance against Atlant also poses many questions. A weak start, four goals conceded, and then a heroic fightback to level the game in regulation time. Coach Andrei Shayanov complains about a lack of defenders capable of guarding their zones, but in the presence of players like Kevin Dallman this does seem strange.

Atlant this season have gone through a change of coach and of management, so no-one should demand any miracles from the Mytishchi Men; but when the team includes players like Jan Bulis, Sergei Mozyakin and Nikolai Zherdev, expectations are bound to be high. On the plus side, they have taken points from all their last nine games, but the coaches will hardly be pleased that in several of these they could and should have done better. Of course, it is no simple task for Nikolai Borshchevsky, still getting to know the squad and trying to get them to produce the kind of hockey that will bring success.

Yashin takes the lead
Having set up four goals in the match with Avangard, SKA attacker Alexei Yashin, left out of the national Olympic team, went top of the table for assists. His account now stands at 31 decisive passes, overtaking his teammate Maxim Sushinsky. Alexei has smashed his personal record for the KHL: last season he collected 26 points for assists.

Hat-trick of assists
Riga Dinamo attacker Alexanders Nizivijs supplied assists for three goals in one match for the first time in his spell in the KHL. In less than two seasons, the Latvia forward has made 33 goals for his partners in 87 games, and has taken two points from a match on eight occasions.

21 and then bust
Salavat Yulaev of Ufa, until the game with Severstal, boasted an impressive record: in 21 games where they led after the second period, they emerged victorious every time, but the 22nd attempt proved too much. And Severstal are far from being specialists in late victories. Until today, they had been trailing at the end of the second period in 19 games, and only twice managed to dig out a win in the final session.

Irgl’s favourite team
Lokomotiv forward Zbynek Irgl (pictured) really loves Traktor. He had already collected eight points from previous meetings with the side, and this evening he added two more, making one assist plus successfully converting a penalty in the shoot-out.

Fedorov’s first fight
For the first time in his Russian career, Sergei Fedorov received a 25 minute penalty for exceptionally dirty play. This season is his worst on his native soil for the amount of penalty time he has earned: in 1988-89 Sergei collected a total 35 minutes, and this time he has already reached 39.

Heavy home hammering
Moscow’s Army Men suffered their heaviest home defeat in all their time in the KHL championship. Last November they went down 2-6 to Amur, and their worst defeat without scoring was 0-3 at the hands of Magnitogorsk Metallurg, but defeat by a five-goal margin, and without a single goal in reply, is a totally new experience for CSKA.

Novokuznetsk’s toothless attack
Metallurg Novokuznetsk have now failed to score in eight matches, more than any other club this season. Torpedo are in second place with four fruitless outings. Metallurg are closing in on the KHL record: last season Dinamo Minsk found themselves firing only blanks in 9 matches.

Figures of the day
69 shots on goal in the game between Atlant and Barys.

35 of these were from the Barys players.

10 shots at goal by Atlant attacker Sergei Mozyakin.

32 minutes 3 seconds spent in play by Barys defenseman Kevin Dallman.

82.4% of 17 face-offs won by Ak Bars attacker Jarkko Immonen.

Key players
Michael Garnett (HC MVD). Saved 18 shots in the game against the Eastern Conference leaders.

Alexei Yemelin (Ak Bars). Scored the winning goal and earned an efficiency rating of +2.

Nikolai Belov (Neftekhimik). Added a goal, an assist, and a rating of +3 to his account.

Viktor Tikhonov (Severstal). Scored one goal, set up the winner, and earned a rating of +2.

Alexei Yashin (SKA). Made four assists, featuring in every one of his team’s goals.

Maxim Potapov (Torpedo). Scored a goal, made an assist, and finished the match with a +1.

Quotes
“We’ve just played two matches in which we had no special desire, or feeling, I don’t know what’s happened to the team.” - Spartak head coach Milos Riha.

“The mid-season break didn’t have the best effect on our play - we only trained, we had no match practice.” - Amur head coach Alexander Blinov.

“We showed our useless side today.” - Salavat Yulaev head coach Vyacheslav Bykov.

Alexei Shevchenko, khl.ru

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