Comeback kings
The first day’s play after the break was remarkable in the number of teams rebounding from a bad start and fighting back to claim heroic victories. Both Avtomobilist and Dinamo Minsk found themselves trailing 0-2 but bounced back to overpower Severstal and Traktor respectively. For all four teams, it was the second such instance already in the current championship.

Dinamo Riga also enjoyed a two-goal advantage, albeit not from the start of the game, over in Ufa where they led the hosts 4-2, but Salavat Yulaev clawed their way back to claim all three points. It is the first such heroics from Salavat this season, and the first such fiasco for Dinamo.

And finally, SKA threw away an even stronger advantage, at one stage cruising 3-0 against Ak Bars but finishing as losers in the shoot-out. The nightmare collapse was the Petersburg team’s first of the current campaign, but it was the second three-goal fightback by the men from Kazan.

Firing blanks in the shoot-out
Lokomotiv’s shoot-out defeat today was already their third of the new season, and if we include the last campaign it is their fifth in a row. For the Yaroslavl team’s last shoot-out success we must go back almost a year, to the 28th of November 2009, when they edged out Dinamo Riga.

Out of six players sent out on shoot-out duty so far in the current championship, only Josef Vasicek has managed to score. Even Lokomotiv’s best performer in the shoot-out last season, Gennady Churilov (3 goals from 5 attempts), has already missed two out of two this season.

Figure of the day
11 seconds was all SKA needed to score twice against Ak Bars, and it is a record for this season. The KHL record, however, still belongs to Metallurg Novokuznetsk, who hit two goals in 7 seconds.

Key players
Ilya Proskuryakov (Metallurg Magnitogorsk). Saved all 29 shots to earn his second shutout of the season.

Sergei Vyshedkevich (Torpedo). Supplied one decisive pass and, despite being on the losing side, still merited a +4.

Alexei Bondarev (Avangard). Spent more than 23 minutes on the ice and finished the at a +3.

Andrei Subbotin (Avtomobilist). Not only did he score a double, including the golden goal in overtime, but he also added an assist and earned a +2.

Jiri Novotny (Barys). Spent over 25 minutes in play, the best of any forward in the game, during which time he scored two goals and won 21 out of 27 face-offs.

Petr Sykora (Dinamo Minsk). Collected two points on his Minsk debut, with a goal and an assist.

Quotes of the day
Kulyash wasn’t injured, he just didn’t play too well, so we decided to go with just two defensive pairs,” Avangard head coach Raimo Summanen.

“We were making real schoolboy errors, way out of character for an experienced side. And the way the game went forced us to be permanently at full stretch, fighting our way back,” Salavat Yulaev head coach Vyacheslav Bykov.

“Sadly, the guys back from international duty didn’t look very lively. They probably used up all their energy playing for their countries,” Neftekhimik head coach Vladimir Krikunov.

Alexei Shevchenko, special to khl.ru

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