Result of the day
Sibir - SKA 3-0. This performance from the Petersburg men is no mystery. The break is approaching, and with it the chance to spend time with the family, and to switch off from hockey for a while. On the other hand the gap between them and Salavat Yulaev has now stretched to four points, and if it widens much more, they can wave goodbye to both the Continent Cup and to home advantage through all the play-offs.
Sibir’s performance is also nothing strange. The team have a chance of ending one of their most volatile seasons on a high note by making the play-offs. Of course, the Novosibirsk side still need to hold off the pressure from Amur (Avtomobilist have done all they possibly can) but in this struggle the advantage lies with Andrei Tarasenko’s side. At very least the line-up looks more balanced, and Yury Klyuchnikov has grabbed with both hands the chance to become ‘Numero Uno’, banishing both the club’s imported goaltenders to the bench.
Easy for Klyuchnikov
Klyuchnikov achieved his second clean sheet of the season, but it was far from being his hardest day at the office, the Petersburg side managing a paltry 11 attempts on his goal. Up until today, Klyuchnikov’s most peaceful outing was when Spartak troubled him a mere 16 times, although in that match he was not so reliable, conceding 4 goals. Salavat Yulaev gave Yury his busiest match of all - 46 shots and three goals.
Koshechkin the clear leader
Metallurg Magnitogorsk goaltender Vasily Koshechkin consolidated his status as the League’s most reliable keeper with his eighth clean sheet of the campaign. His closest rivals are Robert Esche and Georgy Gelashvili, who both have six to their account.
First time unbeaten
Atlant goaltender Andrei Gavrilov spent part of this season at Vityaz, where he conceded 65 times in 19 appearances and without a single clean sheet. Today, however, on his Atlant debut he has achieved his first perfect game. This is also Gavrilov’s debut season at the top level. A year ago he was playing for HC Lipetsk in the lower league, where he claimed three clean sheets.
Vityaz is the only club in the KHL to have used five goaltenders this season. Of these, Sergei Denisov has made the most appearances on the ice, 26, and is the only Vityaz goalie to keep a clean sheet, although he has also conceded the most goals - 74 so far. The best of the five for percentage of shots saved has been Andrei Gavrilov, with figures of 87.6%.
Big fans of the shoot-out
Amur and Severstal both seem to love playing out 65 minutes and going for a shoot-out victory, and the meeting between the two teams confirmed this. The Khabarovsk side have featured in 10 post-match series, and their opponents are veterans of 13. Friday’s victory means Amur are now 4th place in the League for shoot-out successes with 6 wins, just behind Severstal who have 7.
Avangard’s reluctant attackers
Avangard have managed just one goal on 11 occasions this season, although two of these nonetheless earned points for the Siberians. In the first of these a lone strike was enough to bring victory, and the second finished with a win in the shoot-out. The Omsk men have a total of 141 goals for the season, and Jaromir Jagr is their only representative in the League’s top 50 snipers.
Minsk do it again
Dinamo Minsk continue to ‘better’ their record for conceding goals into an empty net. The goal by CSKA was the 11th time the Belarusians have been punished for pulling the goalie, although on this occasion the coach did take an exceptional risk - they were already playing short-handed in the closing minutes of the game.
Both Torpedo goals against Dinamo Riga came in powerplays, and Evgeny Popikhin’s team have now found themselves playing 5 on 4 on 239 occasions - only the 20th highest total in the KHL. Despite this, they boast a decent conversion rate of 16.32%, the sixth best in the League, and their total of 47 goals in powerplay is the 10th best in the tournament.
Figures of the day
38 shots on goal from the players of Dynamo Moscow, Torpedo, and Metallurg Magnitogorsk against, respectively, Vityaz, Dinamo Riga, and Avtomobilist.
27 minutes 22 seconds spent in play by Severstal defenseman Yury Alexandrov.
86.7% of 15 face-offs won by Barys attacker Jozef Stumpel.
8 shots at goal by Vityaz defenseman Alexander Ryazantsev.
Yury Klyuchnikov (Sibir). Claimed his second clean sheet of the season, this time against the leaders of the Western conference.
Ilya Gorokhov (Salavat Yulaev). Spent more than 23 minutes on the ice, scored a goal and finished with an efficiency rating of +1.
Yakov Rylov (CSKA). Added a goal and an assist to his account.
Alexei Morozov (Ak Bars). Struck the winning goal, made an assist, and finished with a +2.
Lauris Darzins (Dinamo Riga). Made the assist for one goal, and then converted the decisive shot in the shoot-out.
Evgeny Fedorov (HC MVD). Scored a short-handed goal and helped his team to an important victory.
“We didn’t show enough character to get a result,” - Neftekhimik head coach Vladimir Krikunov.
“We are doing a lot of thinking out on the ice,” - HC MVD head coach Oleg Znarok.
“I can take being beaten by skill, but to surrender the game so weakly - that’s simply a disgrace,” - Vityaz head coach Alexei Yarushkin.
Alexei Shevchenko, khl.ru