Result of the day
Dinamo Riga - Spartak 3-2. Games between these two sides this season have turned out to be a real feast. Despite the Red-and-Whites often taking points from the top teams, they can do nothing against the Latvians, with all four encounters ending in victory for Julius Supler’s team.

Each one of these games has been a small gift for hockey-lovers. It is enough to recall the season’s first meeting, when the Riga men arrived in Moscow after a series of defeats but sprung a surprise by hammering the hosts 5-1.

We have been paying a lot of attention to the East, but in the Western Conference it is also far from certain who will be the final eight clubs that make the play-offs. The Riga side now have to battle with Torpedo and Severstal for a place. And there is Dinamo Minsk, who are also grabbing points where least expected, and whose players still maintain that all is not lost.

With Spartak the situation is a little different and maybe they are saving their strength sometimes, safe in the knowledge that a defeat will not prove fatal. Although games like these, against teams trying to punch above their weight, usually tell us much about their readiness for battle in the second stage. With the Red-and-Whites, we cannot say anything at the moment.

Four each
Spartak scored their fourth short-handed goal of the season, which puts them in the KHL top ten on this score, and moreover all four goals came from different players. The latest victims, Dinamo Riga, are no strangers to conceding goals while having the man advantage – that goal was also fourth for them, and only five teams have conceded more often.

Debut goal
For attacker Evgeny Lapenkov, Spartak is the ninth club of his professional career. He has scored for all his clubs except Saratov’s “Kristall” at the end of season 2004-05. Evgeny grabbed a goal in his first game for the Red-and-Whites, and last year at Neftekhimik he set his personal record at the top level - 18 goals in a season.

Losing the lead
Belarus’s Dinamo are still struggling to capture any consistency. In 33 games this season they have opened the scoring, but have only gone on to win 18 of these. Then again, this time the men from Minsk were up against one of the country’s most battling sides: Dynamo Moscow have fought back to win after losing the first goal on 12 occasions out of 25, the second best record in the KHL.

Quickfire goals
Three of the goals in the Sibir - Avangard game arrived in the 22nd and 23rd minutes, the sixth fastest trio of goals in the League this season. The teams needed only 1 minute and 6 seconds to change the score from 0-1 to 2-2. The season’s record was set in the Metallurg Magnitogorsk - Traktor game, when three goals were struck in just 21 seconds.

Favorite team
Avangard attacker Yegor Averin scored his second double of the season, and both of them were against Sibir. Averin’s two goals came only 3 minutes and 42 seconds apart - the 23rd fastest double strike of the season. Strange, that in the first KHL championship Yegor did not manage a single goal.

Norwegian fours
Salavat Yulaev attacker Patrick Thoresen collected four points from his game, two goals and two assists. It is the best points haul of the season for the Norwegian, although he had already scored three points on four occasions. And it is the second time he has earned the impressive efficiency rating of +4.

An hour is not enough
Atlant have now reached the 60-minute mark without a result 13 times this season, a distinction they share with Severstal. More often than not, on nine occasions, the Moscow region side have continued to the shoot-out series, and today’s overtime win was only their third this season.

Figures of the day
41 shots at the Dynamo Moscow goal from the Dinamo Minsk players.

8 of these came from Jeff Platt.

75% of 16 face-offs won by Metallurg Novokuznetsk attacker Fedor Polishchuk.

26 minutes 8 seconds spent in play by Dinamo Minsk defenseman Mikko Jokela.

Key players
Vitaly Kolesnik (Salavat Yulaev). Saved 22 shots.

Olegs Sorokins (Dinamo Riga). Scored the winning goal, and provided the assist for another.

Karel Rachunek (Dynamo Moscow). Scored two goals.

Yegor Averin (Avangard). Scored two goals, including the game-winner.

Patrick Thoresen (Salavat Yulaev). Scored two goals, made two assists, finished at a +4, and achieved all this in under 14 minutes.

Alexander Radulov (Salavat Yulaev). Collected three points, with two goals and an assist.

Quotes
“It is a double shame that two of the three goals we let in were down to mistakes from experienced players,” - Sibir head coach Andrei Tarasenko.

Tatarinov’s line is not enough for three games running against the leading teams in the league,” - Metallurg Novokuznetsk head coach Dmitry Parkhomenko.

Alexei Shevchenko, khl.ru

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