Hail of goals
Rarely does a team score ten or more goals in the KHL game; it did not happen once last season, for example, although three teams managed to hit nine: Lokomotiv, Neftekhimik, and today’s heroes Barys. Back in the first championship, we had nine goals from Salavat Yulaev, ten from Neftekhimik, and eleven from none other than Barys. Moreover, in both the last two cases the victims were Vityaz.
It is interesting that Barys are so often responsible for inflicting such avalanches of goals on their opponents, when overall they do not have anywhere near the most threatening attack. In the 2008-09 season the men from Astana were only eighth in the standings for the League’s top scorers, were seventh the following year, and are seventh again this season.
End of a losing streak
The men of Magnitogorsk have finally broken their recent run of five straight defeats, which was Metallurg’s worst losing streak not only of their time in the KHL, but in Russian hockey. During the unlucky sequence, Kari Heikkila’s men scored only 7 goals, allowed 16, and in two of the five games they were kept off the scoreboard altogether.
Metallurg’s previous worst run of games was four defeats (and one of those was in overtime) back in the first KHL championship. Last season the Magnitogorsk men allowed themselves to go three games without a success, although that mini-series was part of a more notable “achievement” of six games without a regulation time victory.
Vitaly Kolesnik is celebrating his third perfect game of the season, and Salavat Yulaev goaltender is edging closer to his personal best: in both previous KHL championships he earned five shutouts, first in the colors of Atlant, and then for Salavat Yulaev.
Kolesnik did not have to work as hard for today’s shutout as he did for the first two: against Amur and Traktor he was called on to make 29 and 24 saves respectively, whereas today the Cherepovets men bothered him a mere 19 times.
Vitaly’s busiest day at work this season came against Barys, who bombarded him with 45 shots at his goal. Five of these proved too good for Kolesnik, but he redeemed himself with a superb performance in the shootout and helped his team to take two points. Curiously, twice in the current championship Kolesnik has allowed six goals, but after both games it was still the Ufa men celebrating, having hit one more goal in the opposition’s net.
Figure of the day
202 points. That is the balance of Alexander Radulov’s account for his time in the KHL. The Salavat Yulaev forward has played in 175 games, in which he has scored 72 goals and made 130 assists. He passed the 200 mark today by setting up three goals for his teammates.
Georgy Gelashvili (Metallurg Magnitogorsk). Saved 38 shots out of 39 to end his team’s losing run.
Kevin Dallman (Barys). Spent over 20 minutes on the ice and helped to create three goals, in a performance that earned him a +4.
Maxim Semenov (Atlant). Topped up his account with two power play goals, one assist, and a rating of +1.
Petri Kontiola (Metallurg Magnitogorsk). Scored the winning goal and supplied the passes for two more.
Jiri Novotny (Barys). Picked up four points (2+2) and won 12 out of 19 face-offs
Igor Grigorenko (Salavat Yulaev). Was the most active attacker in his team, with five shots, and the most lethal finisher, with 2 goals.
Quotes of the day
“I’m happy with those qualities the guys have been showing in recent games, especially our play in defense. It’s very important now we’re on the threshold of the play-offs,” Salavat Yulaev head coach Vyacheslav Bykov.
“Our opponents showed us how to play. Very solid, a very audacious team, they played great. Stana was one of our best today. Played really well, even creating several chances practically by himself,” Severstal head coach Dmitry Kvartalnov.
“We’ve allowed 8 goals in our last two home games, and here we’ve shipped seven. Maybe a couple of times the referees helped our opponent, and one more goal was into an empty net, but it’s a lot all the same,” SKA head coach Vaclav Sykora.
“No use in making excuses, we were outplayed in every way,” Metallurg Novokuznetsk head coach Anatoly Yemelin.
Alexei Shevchenko, special to khl.ru