Last season neither Amur nor CSKA made it into the play-offs: this time the pair faced off in Moscow knowing that the winners could go top of the table. And the two teams produced a terrific game which went to penalties before Amur emerged victorious.
Jakub Petruzalek, the league's top point-scorer, scored twice in the shoot-out, cancelling Alexei Yashin's strike in his second game for CSKA to give the Far Eastern side victory - and keep them join top of the table with Avangard.
In regulation time it was Sergei Barbashev who was the hero for CSKA; the youngster scored his first ever goal in senior hockey on 57:48 to tie the game at 2-2 after the hosts had steadily increased the pressure on Jan Lasak's goal. His strike came two minutes after Jakov Rylov - scorer of CSKA's first goal - missed a great chance, shredding the nerves of the home fans.
The late goal was hard to swallow for the men from Khabarovsk, who had led twice and played a full part in an absorbing evening of hockey. Petruzalek got the first of the night to take his goal+pass tally to 15, and Dmitry Tarasov made it 2-1 on 30:12.
Trampled by Traktor
An astonishing first period in Chelyabinsk left Metallurg Magnitogorsk shell-shocked as Traktor - and Konstantin Panov in particular - ran riot. Panov struck twice, once on a powerplay, and added an assist to Maxim Yakutsenya's goal before Stanislav Chistov put the hosts 4-0 up on 17:01. Traktor out-shot Magnitka 17-2 in a dazzling display, and went on to win the game 5-1. Mikhail Yakubov pulled one back for the visitors but Dmitry Sayustov completed the scoring.
Salavat Yulaev's star man Alexander Radulov returned to action after injury, but Avangard Omsk ran out 4-2 winner over the defending champion. Sergei Kalinin put the hosts ahead before Oleg Saprykin grabbed a quick equalizer for the men from Ufa. But by 23:47 it was comfortable for Avangard: goals from Alexei Kalyuzhny, Alexander Perezhogin and Dmitry Syomin had the hosts in control. Saprykin turned provider for Pyotr Schastlivy's consolation goal in the third, but it was Avangard who moved up to 20 points and share top spot with Amur.
Around the league
Denis Abdullin scored twice to help Avtomobilist to a 4-1 home win over Yugra in Yekaterinburg. Andrei Subbotin opened the scoring and Filipp Savchenko doubled the lead before Vitaly Sitnikov pulled one back for the visitors.
Jori Lehtera was Sibir's game-winner at Dinamo Minsk, grabbing an overtime goal on 62:24 after a 1-1 tie. Geoff Platt put the hosts in front before young Vladimir Tarasenko equalized early in the second period.
In Poprad, Lev eased to a comfortable win over Metallurg Novokuznetsk. Tomas Netik was the architect with two assists as Martin Chabada, Juraj Mikus, Lubos Bartecko and Jaroslav Kristek got on the score-sheet in a 4-0 win.