Metallurg Magnitogorsk’s win at Ugra saw the Ural team make it 12 games in which it has taken at least one point. By contrast Ugra has now lost six in a row.
The form book suggested that Magnitka would have the edge here, and it took just 11 minutes for the game to match the stats. Four goals in that time, spread unusually widely around a Magnitka roster which usually looks to its first line for scoring power, effectively ended the contest. Fittingly, though, it was Danis Zaripov, the league’s leading goalscorer, who got the eventual game-winner as well as setting up Viktor Antipin’s opener.
Boost for struggling Avangard
Avangard’s beleaguered players got a much-needed boost thanks to a shoot-out win at home to Salavat Yulaev. The game in Omsk brought together a home team with just one win in seven and a visitor which had conceded 11 goals in its previous two games. Early on, though, chances were limited as both sets of players worked hard on cutting out the errors that had hampered their recent performances.
Salavat finally got in front in the 45th minute after Antti Pihlstrom found space to set up Kirill Koltsov for the opening goal. But it didn’t take long for Avangard to tie it up through Alexander Popov, setting up a shoot-out which was settled by Dmitry Semin.
CSKA back to winning ways
After three games without a win, CSKA recovered to beat Severstal in a shoot-out following a 2-2 tie in Cherepovets. With so many teams in the Western Conference separated by just three or four points, every game in this section is proving to be a real battle, and this one needed 12 penalty shots to finally establish the winner. Young defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, making a welcome return from injury this week, got the decider.
Earlier both teams had led, but CSKA in particular failed to capitalize on its advantage. Brandon Reid made it 2-1 to the Army Men early in the second, but Nikolai Kazakovtsev tied it up again within 30 seconds.
Ugra tried to make a game of it, but even after pulling two goals back it could not threaten a fightback and Evgeny Timkin completed the scoring in a 5-2 win.Magnitka’s streak is the longest in the league this season.
Late flourish keeps SKA on top
A 5-0 home win for SKA sounds like a straightforward night out for the Western Conference leader – but Lev may feel its efforts deserved more than a heavy defeat. The game was goalless at the second interval, and the team from Prague had outshot its host, but that all changed early in the third. A powerplay goal from Viktor Tikhonov finally broke the deadlock, and the hitherto impressive Atte Engren found himself struggling in the Lev goal. Ilya Kovalchuk orchestrated the win, picking up three assists in an impressive finish.
Around the league
Konstantin Romanov led the way with two goals as Barys returned to form in a 5-1 home win over Neftekhimik. The Kazakh team had lost its last two at home, but returned to the top of the Eastern Conference with a resounding victory on Wednesday.
Medvescak let slip a 2-0 lead at home to Admiral when Igor Bortnikov scored two quick goals. That meant the clash of the KHL newcomers finished 2-2. The Zagreb team had a goal ruled out by the video judge in overtime before Matt Ellison added to his regulation time goal with a shoot-out winner for the hosts.
Goals were also in short supply in Mytishchi, where Juraj Mikus got the only goal of the game as struggling Slovan picked up a win at Atlant. Jaroslav Janus made 30 saves to keep the Moscow Region team at bay.
Dinamo Minsk remains level with Slovan at the foot of the conference thanks to a 5-2 home win over Metallurg Novokuznetsk. Experienced forward Alexei Kalyuzhny led the way with two goals.