Firing blanks
Petersburg’s army men have been prevented from scoring for the second time in the current championship, after scoring in each of their previous 32 games. Today they were unable to breach the Spartak defense, while earlier in the season they were shut out by Severstal.

In the previous regular championship SKA were also kept off the scoreboard in two games, against Sibir and Dynamo Moscow, while in the KHL’s first season their offense was blunted no less than five times – once each by the men of Novokuznetsk, Yaroslavl, and Minsk, and twice by their fellow army men from Moscow.

It is indicative that almost half of their goalless games, four out of the nine, have come at home in front of their own fans.

Of all the teams in the KHL, only one has penetrated the opposition’s defense in every encounter of the campaign – Avangard.

Scoring while outnumbered
The men from Cherepovets notched their sixth short-handed goal of the season today, and in scoring it Alexei Tsvetkov joins 11 other players to have two such goals in their account. The teams so far punished for their complacency by Severstal are Dinamo Riga, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, Barys, CSKA and – now twice - Dynamo Moscow. Moreover, the goals against the two teams from the capital turned out to be game-winners.

However, we should note that Dmitry Kvartalnov’s players are far from being the League leaders on this score: the men from Riga have scored nine short-handed goals, while Severstal now share second place with Ak Bars, Lokomotiv and Traktor, with five goals to date.

Not strong enough
CSKA tend to start very well, indeed Sergei Nemchinov’s players have taken the lead in 20 games already, but have only held on for victory in 11 of them. Today’s encounter with Lokomotiv was the ninth time they have let the early advantage slip away. Traktor has the same unhappy statistic, sharing with the Muscovites the worst record in the current championship. However, both teams can console themselves with the fact that if we go by percentages, then things are even worse at Avtomobilist – the Yekaterinburg men have thrown away a lead in 7 out of 12 games, or 41.7%.

As for the victorious men of Yaroslavl, it is the eighth time (out of 16) they have triumphed after conceding the first goal, making them one of the comeback kings of the KHL. Sibir has also fought back to win 8 times, while the leaders are Dynamo Moscow and Ak Bars on 10, with Oleg Znarok’s outfit ahead on percentage, with 52.6%.

Figure of the day
6 minutes of penalties handed out this season to Lokomotiv goaltender Alexander Vyukhin, who today was sent to the penalty box twice in one game for the first time in the KHL.

Key players
Dominik Hasek (Spartak, pictured). Saved 31 shots to claim his fourth shutout of the season.

Danny Groulx (Torpedo). Spent over 24 minutes on the ice and finished at a +3.

Dinar Khafizullin (Vityaz). Scored the game-winner and was his team’s highest rated defenseman, earning a +2.

Charles Linglet (Torpedo). Scored a double.

Alexei Tsvetkov (Severstal). Struck the winning goal, set up one more, and was the joint most valuable player in the game at a +3.

Vadim Shipachev (Severstal). Just like Tsvetkov: one goal, one assist, and a +3.

Quotes of the day
“We put the accent on active play, considering our mistakes in Riga. In that game we fell for one tactical ruse, allowing three goals on counterattacks and the other while we were short-handed,” Torpedo head coach Vladimir Golubovich.

“I can’t say that we didn’t fulfill our game plan, but we played very badly. We made individual and tactical mistakes. You just can’t play like that,” Dinamo Riga head coach Julius Supler.

“There are, of course, things we can learn from Dynamo’s attackers, like how they creep right into your zone and battle for the puck there,” Severstal head coach Dmitry Kvartalnov.

“When the visiting team is one of the outsiders – although that’s the wrong word, sorry – rather, teams we feel we should beat, then some things go wrong in the minds of the players,” Dinamo Minsk head coach Marek Sykora.

Alexei Shevchenko, special to khl.ru

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