Result of the day
Salavat Yulaev - Amur 2-3. Crazy January is already beginning to bear fruit: here we have the third-placed team in the League unexpectedly losing on their own ice to the 21st. To be honest, even when the score reached 0-3 the result was still in doubt. For Vyacheslav Bykov and Igor Zakharkin’s team it was business as usual: concede a few goals, and then, with a mighty effort, fight back to draw level or even win outright. Only not this time. The Khabarovsk men, following in the footsteps of Avtomobilist, surprise victors in Kazan two days ago, boasted well-organized hockey in their armor. These days the points invariably go to the most disciplined teams and not to the most skilful, and so Amur kept their cool, held their emotions in check, avoided unnecessary problems, and when given the chance they punished their opponents. Here we must recognize that the Ufa side always allow their opponents to play, never try to stifle them, but instead simply count on their powerful attack being able to crush any defense in the KHL. In this match, however, Amur held firm, but several times Salavat were close to pulling off a miracle. And now, thanks to January’s results, every team in the Eastern Conference can still make the play-offs, even Metallurg Novokuznetsk.
First triple failure
For the first time in KHL history, Salavat Yulaev have lost three matches in a row, taking only one point. They already had a bad patch this season when they went five games without a regulation time win, although in that spell Salavat at least managed a victory in overtime and a shoot-out win.
First double failure
It is the first time in the KHL that Ak Bars have suffered two straight home defeats in regulation time. The last time this happened to them was back in 2007, when once again one of their conquerors was SKA, and the second - Dynamo Moscow.
Seventh team for Yepanchintsev
Atlant has become Vadim Yepanchintsev’s seventh club in Russian championships. Since 1998, the forward has played for Metallurg Novokuznetsk, Severstal, Ak Bars, Khimik, CSKA and Dynamo. In this time he has scored 116 goals and made 251 assists in 513 games in the regular championship.
Vitaly Yeremeyev, goaltender for Dynamo Moscow, has joined the list of custodians who have taken part in a move which produced a goal; moreover, in this case, the goal which won the game. The most dangerous goaltender for the opposition’s defense is Robert Esche of SKA, who has three assists, although Edgar Masalskis has a goal to his account.
Vityaz have found themselves playing 3 on 5 on 37 occasions, more often than any other side in the KHL. The goal they conceded to Lokomotiv was the 16th. It is worth mentioning that the Yaroslavl team is second in the League after Barys for taking full advantage when playing 5 on 3.
Will to win
For only the second time this season, Dinamo Minsk have lost a game in which they have been leading through two periods. In 15 such matches the men from Minsk have gone on to win the game. And Metallurg Magnitogorsk now join the elite circle of teams who have managed to put a bad 40 minutes behind them and dig out a victory. Three times this season they have shown such a will to win. The leader on this score is Traktor, with five victories.
CSKA goaltender Konstantin Barulin continues to add to his personal record for penalty minutes in a season. After being penalized for 10 minutes in the game against Spartak he has now virtually sat in the penalty box for a total of 35 minutes, having never collected more than 18 minutes until this season. In the current KHL championship, Barulin is now the fourth most penalized goaltender, behind Georgy Gelashvili, Robert Esche and Tyler Moss.
Dinamo Riga goaltender Edgar Masalskis has set a new personal record in the KHL by keeping a clean sheet for the second time in one season. In the previous championship he managed to keep his goal intact on just the one occasion, and not once was Masalskis unbeaten in goal in season 2002-03, when he kept goal for Sibir.
Figures of the day
38 shots on goal from the players of Salavat Yulaev and Torpedo against, respectively, Amur and HC MVD.
7 shots at the Vityaz goal by Lokomotiv attacker Konstantin Rudenko.
25 minutes 38 seconds spent in play by Ak Bars defenseman Ilya Nikulin.
86.7% of 15 face-offs won by Ak Bars attacker Alexei Tereshchenko.
Robert Esche (SKA). Saved 26 shots, helping his team to victory in Kazan, and almost scored into an empty net.
Alexander Osipov (Amur). Played for more than 17 minutes, and scored his first goal of the season, which turned out to be the game-winner.
Karel Rachunek (Dynamo Moscow). Made two assists and finished the game with an efficiency rating of +1.
Denis Arkhipov (Neftekhimik). Was the home team’s most active player with five shots, two of which found the target, and one of these clinched victory.
Grigory Shafigulin (Torpedo). Scored a goal, made an assist, and finished the game with a rating of +1.
Robert Petrovicky (Dinamo Riga). Made one assist, then scored the winning goal.
“We won, but I can say the Minsk guys clearly didn’t deserve to lose,” - Metallurg Magnitogorsk head coach Valery Belousov.
“The visitors started the first period very well; I didn’t expect that from them,” - Spartak head coach Milos Riha.
“The goaltender always gets the blame,” - Traktor head coach Andrei Nazarov.
Alexei Shevchenko, khl.ru