The return of Blinov
Yet again there is a change of head coach at Amur, with Sergei Svetlov making way for Alexander Blinov – the man who started the season in charge of the Khabarovsk club. Svetlov’s reign lasted for 31 games, of which Amur won 10. The heaviest defeat was the 0-7 in Saint Petersburg, while the team managed three victories by a three-goal margin. The win over Vityaz was the only time the men from the Far East kept the opposition from scoring, whereas they themselves were shut out on eight occasions, and moreover, the team went more than180 minutes without a goal after Sergei Svetlov took charge.

Baker's dozen for Ak Bars
Ak Bars kept the opposition off the scoreboard today for the 13th time in all since the start of the KHL. Curiously, seven of these were achieved on the road, and both the club’s shutouts in the current championship have come away from Kazan. The champions already boast two shutout victories against both Novokuznetsk Metallurg and Dynamo Moscow, and eight of their thirteen clean sheets came in the first KHL championship. And Zinetula Bilyaletdinov’s men have won four games by a 4-0 scoreline, and twice won 7-0.

One in three
Three penalty shots were awarded in Tuesday’s games, but only one was successfully converted. Since the start of the season 43 penalty shots have been handed out by the officials, with only 10 resulting in a goal. Mikhail Anisin of Yugra became the team’s second player to score from a penalty shot, following on from Dmitry Altaryev, giving Yugra a success rate of 2 out of 3 for the campaign. It was the second to be awarded against CSKA this season, and although Steve Valiquette came out on top against Dynamo Moscow, he lost his duel today. The earliest penalty shot of all came in a game between Amur and Traktor, awarded in only the fourth minute, but Amur goaltender Yann Danis got the better of Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Figure of the day
32 consecutive home games in which Metallurg Magnitogorsk scored at least once– until today. For the previous occasion when the men from the Urals left the ice without a goal, we must go right back to the 23rd of November 2009, when they lost 0-3 to CSKA.

Key players
Alexander Lazushin (Metallurg Novokuznetsk). Despite his team losing in overtime, he had a superb game, saving 32 shots.

Vyacheslav Belov (Sibir). Spent nearly 23 minutes on the ice and was rated the most valuable player on the team, earning a +2.

Evgeny Medvedev (Ak Bars). The most active and the most valuable defenseman on his team, hitting three shots and finishing at a +2.

Igor Bortnikov (Neftekhimik). Had two shots, one of which resulted in the winning goal, and also finished at a +2.

Nikita Gusev (CSKA). Scored his debut goal in the KHL, and it turned out to be the game-winner. Spent a little over 8 minutes on the ice but still merited a +2.

Alexander Popov (Avangard). Struck the winning goal with under two minutes of regulation time left on the clock.

Quotes of the day
“The good thing was that for the second game running the team didn’t give up, they did what they were told, they didn’t try to contrive anything, and that’s what brought us the victories,” Sibir head coach Andrei Tarasenko.

“I’ve already said that we made big mistakes in our selections, mainly with the foreigners,” Neftekhimik head coach Vladimir Krikunov.

“In the first period I simply didn’t recognize the team. We’ve never played as bad as that,” Avtomobilist head coach Evgeny Mukhin.

“I’m confident my players won’t go on the booze during the [New Year] break. Anyway, we don’t have time to relax,” Yugra assistant coach Nikolai Solovyev.

Alexei Shevchenko, special to khl.ru

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