Dynamo Moscow rested Alexander Ovechkin – but recent signing Niklas Backstrom helped to fill the gap with his first ever KHL goal. The Swedish forward put the defending champion 1-0 up on Dinamo Riga at Luzhniki, reacting first to Filip Novak’s blue-liner in the last seconds of the first period. But the Latvians battled back to tie it up through Gints Meija before Marek Kvapil and Denis Kokarev gave the Muscovites a 3-1 win to confirm top spot in the KHL table.
Seven-up for Magnitka
In-form Metalurg Magnitogorsk showed that there’s more to its game than Evgeny Malkin – posting a second 7-2 win in succession, with Malkin this time contributing just a single assist. Top scoring honors at home to Dinamo Minsk went to Justin Hodgman, with 2+2. Fellow Canadian Evander Kane, meanwhile, got his first goal since fleeing the lock-out and coming to Belarus, but could do little to stop Magnitka romping to a convincing win.
Martensson at the double
Tony Martensson scored two first period goals to pile on the misery for struggling Spartak and help SKA to a 4-1 win. The Moscow side, which lost 2-7 in its last outing, was never really in contention against former coach Milos Riha’s men and ended up going down to a seventh defeat in eight games. Ilya Kovalchuk continued his fine form in the KHL with his ninth goal and 24th point in 14 games.
Lev’s long wait for a win continues
An unfortunate deflection in overtime condemned Lev Prague to an eighth successive loss, going down to Metallurg Novokuznetsk after a 2-2 tie. Jiri Novotny was the luckless defenseman who saw Filipp Metlyuk’s pass cannon off his stick and into the goal as the home side looked to kill a penalty on Jakub Klepis. Lev’s recent form has cost the Czech team both its head coach and its confidence – and that lack of belief was highlighted as a 2-0 lead evaporated at the Tipsport Arena. Marcel Hossa and Zdeno Chara gave the first period a strong Slovak accent, but their efforts were cancelled out in the second session by Alexei Yefimov and Randy Robitaille.
Around the league
Danis Zaripov scored twice and got an assist as Ak Bars eased to a 3-1 home win over Atlant. The result creates a log-jam at the top of the Kharlamov Division, with the Kazan side just one point behind Traktor and Magnitka.
Traktor’s latest point came in a shoot-out defeat at home to Vityaz Chekhov, with the visitor recovering from 0-3. Evgeny Timkin was the Vityaz hero, tying the game at 3-3 then scoring the shoot-out winner to push his traditionally struggling team into a play-off spot in the West.
Three goals in four first-period minutes proved enough for Salavat Yulaev – but old boy Pyotr Schastlivy inspired a fightback which saw Torpedo pull it back to 3-2. Igor Mirnov’s powerplay goal on 16:50 proved decisive for the Ufa side.
Slovan Bratislava raced into a 3-0 first period lead against Amur Khabarovsk – but was left hanging on for a 4-2 win. Peter Olvecky’s goal on 15:33 proved to be the winner, but nerves were jangling until Michel Miklik made the game safe.