Result of the day
Avtomobilist - Neftekhimik 2-1. Neftekhimik do not attract much attention, but have a look at the Eastern Conference table and there they are sitting in third place. The Nizhnekamsk club’s specialty is that they sweat blood to earn every point. The minute they relax or lose a little of their discipline things start to go wrong.
Avtomobilist head coach Marek Sykora, after the defeat to Lada, spoke about his players’ poor fitness levels, and no doubt nothing has changed in the last two days. But if the Yekaterinburg men found Lada too strong for them, then they put in a practically faultless shift for 65 minutes against Neftekhimik.
In the end, both clubs were rewarded for their efforts. The KHL newcomers found themselves only five points adrift of the play-off zone and Neftekhimik held on to third place, although judging by the revival at Ak Bars they may not stay in that position for very long.
Gulyavtsev the talisman
Avtomobilist also climbed to third place in the table for taking points in the post-match shoot-out, with five victories out of six (there is just one club in the League who are still yet to lose in a shoot-out - Torpedo). If attacker Alexander Gulyavtsev takes part in the penalty series, then Avtomobilist are sure to win. Granted, the forward himself does not score with every attempt; his record so far is three out of five. Interestingly, on the only occasion Avtomobilist lost in the shoot-out, against Spartak, Gulyavtsev played in the game but was injured halfway through the second period and had to watch the rest of the game from the stands.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk goaltender Vasily Koshechkin has now kept a clean sheet four times for his new club, and also twice for Lada. On this score he is now the leading keeper in the tournament. It is safe to say that the club from the Urals is the strongest in the goaltender department. Vasily’s teammate, Ilya Proskuryakov, has stayed unbeaten between the pipes on four occasions. The Petersburg pair, Esche - Sokolov, boasts eight clean sheets.
Ten-game scoring run
Ak Bars are enjoying their best spell of the season, having now taken points from ten straight games, 23 points in all. However, they are still a long way from setting a club record in the KHL. Last season the Gagarin Cup holders took points from 12 consecutive matches.
Traktor have opened the scoring in 25 matches, but have then gone on to lose 13 of them. By percentage, things are only worse for Vityaz, who have scored the first goal in 15 games, of which they have lost 8.
Figures of the day
37 shots at the Lada goal by Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
8 of these were from Jan Marek.
26 minutes 13 seconds spent in play by Avtomobilist defenseman Evgeny Dubrovin.
66.7% of face-offs won by Avtomobilist attacker Igor Magogin.
Vasily Koshechkin (Metallurg Magnitogorsk). Saved 21 shots and kept his sixth clean sheet of the season.
Evgeny Dubrovin (Avtomobilist). Spent over 26 minutes on the ice and earned an efficiency rating of +1.
Grigory Panin (Ak Bars). Scored a goal, finished the game with a rating of +2.
Danis Zaripov (Ak Bars). Added two goals, one of them the winner, and also an assist to his account.
Alexander Gulyavtsev (Neftekhimik). Spent over 14 minutes on the ice, and successfully converted in the shoot-out.
Jan Marek (Metallurg Magnitogorsk). Scored two goals and supplied the pass for one more.
“I’ve already been at “Magnitka” for two months. I’m used to it and I already don’t feel like an outsider,” - Metallurg Magnitogorsk goaltender Vasily Koshechkin.
“We tried to take the game into overtime or to the shoot-out, because we’ve been lucky in these so far,” - Avtomobilist attacker Alexander Gulyavtsev.
Alexei Shevchenko, khl.ru