Nail Yakupov was the star man as Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk enjoyed a shoot-out win at SKA St Petersburg. The 18-year-old forward, only recently cleared to play in Russia following an objection from his NHL employer Edmonton Oilers, celebrated his return to action in style beside the Neva, scoring twice in regulation time then converting the decisive post-game shot after a 2-2 tie. And the youngster had the added satisfaction of upstaging Ilya Kovalchuk – the SKA skipper got his first goal of the season, but couldn’t lead his team to victory. A further NHL refugee, Vladimir Tarasenko, got SKA’s other goal.
Dynamo defeats Ak Bars
The night’s other big game saw Dynamo shut out Ak Bars Kazan to win 2-0 in Moscow. Kirill Knyazev got his first of the season – against one of his former clubs – to open the scoring in the second period, and as Ak Bars pushed for an equalizer Alexander Ovechkin set up Janne Jalasvaara for the second in the 58th minute. Goalie Alexander Yeryomenko made 27 saves – including several impressive ones in the early stages – to record his first shut-out of the season and take Dynamo to 23 points and a tie with Lev at the top of the Bobrov division.
Slovan Bratislava produced a solid defensive display in Yekaterinburg to edge a 1-0 verdict over Avtomobilist. A game very much in the image of cagey head coach Rostislav Cada saw Avto limited to just 13 shots on Jaroslav Janus’s goal, while Libor Hudacek’s powerplay effort in the second was enough to settle the outcome.
Around the league
Donbass Donetsk climbed off the bottom of the Western Conference with a 4-2 win over Dinamo Riga in Ukraine. Evgeny Dadonov posted 2+1, including the game winner, as Donbass won it with two quick goals late in the third period.