Kings of the face-off
Jiri Novotny of Barys stepped up to the face-off spots 31 times, nearly twice the usual total, in the game against Salavat Yulaev. The Czech forward is the season’s undisputed leader on this score, having battled for the puck no less than 990 times, way ahead of his nearest rival (Matt Ellison of Torpedo, on 888) and he has won a highly impressive 61.6% of his one-on-one duels.
Of all those players this season who have contested at least 500 face-offs, Novotny’s win percentage is bettered only by Metallurg Magnitogorsk attacker Sergei Fedorov, who has a 63% success rate. The KHL record currently belongs to Josef Vasicek, of Lokomotiv, who took part in 1,256 face-offs back in the first championship.
Avangard’s Finnish goaltender Karri Ramo is already celebrating his fifth perfect game of the campaign. Two of the five came in consecutive games, and he has twice frustrated Amur, with Atlant, Barys and now Traktor being his other victims. Karri’s hardest-earned clean sheet was against Barys, who forced him to make 38 saves. Incidentally, the Omsk goalie also faced 38 shots against CSKA and Dinamo Riga, but he could not prevent the army men finding the net four times and the Latvians scoring twice. Ramo’s lightest workload was against Traktor, who gave him just 21 shots to deal with.
We should mention that Karri has also had his nightmare games, including one against SKA in which he faced only 15 shots but was beaten by four of them, although no team has managed to score more than four past Ramo this season.
Second shootout success
Barys claimed their second shootout win of the campaign today, and in doing so they vastly improved on their record for last season. In the first KHL championship the men from Astana had a healthy shootout statistic of four wins and two defeats, but the following year they had just one victory and were beaten six times. Curiously, it is the second time in the club’s history that Barys defeated Salavat Yulaev via the shootout.
Figure of the day
Winning goal number 4 for Petri Kontiola (who also boasts a game-deciding shot in a shootout), and this means Kontiola is now level with Denis Platonov in the race to be Magnitogorsk’s top scorer of game-winners this season.
Georgy Gelashvili (Metallurg Magnitogorsk). Saved 31 shots, helping his team to its first win of the new year.
Denis Sokolov (Avtomobilist). In over 25 minutes’ playing time he struck the golden goal in overtime and earned a +2.
Vitaly Atyushov (Metallurg Magnitogorsk). Spent over 24 minutes on the ice, had four shots at goal, scored once and took part in the attack which sealed the victory.
Roman Savchenko (Barys). Was only in play for under 11 minutes, but in that time he managed to add one goal, two assists and a +1 to his account.
Igor Volkov (Avangard). Spent even less time on the ice – a little over 8 minutes – but proved valuable to his team, scoring the winning goal (his first since his move to Omsk from Ufa) and finishing at a +2.
Alexei Morozov (Ak Bars). Had three shots at goal, one of which found the target and turned out to be the game-winner.
Quotes of the day
“If we’d let them score even one goal, the game could’ve gone completely the other way,” Avangard head coach Raimo Summanen.
“They outclassed us. Our guys struggled, and battled – I have no complaints about any of them,” Metallurg Novokuznetsk head coach Anatoly Yemelin.
Alexei Shevchenko, special to khl.ru