Champions pushed to the brink. December 7 round-up

7 December 2013, 23:18

Dynamo Moscow had a tough afternoon at home to lowly Vityaz as the Blue-and-Whites' normally impressive penalty kill faltered and the visitor snatched a 2-2 tie before ..finally succumbing in the shoot-out.

Leo Komarov got the decisive goal, placing a rising shot beyond Ivan Lisutin, but earlier Vityaz had two great opportunities to win it in overtime. First Logan Pyett failed to find a way past Alexander Yeryomenko in a one-on-one breakaway, then Maxim Afinogenov was fouled after being sent clear by Yury Korshakov, only to fire the subsequent penalty shoot into the goalie's chest. That save proved prophetic: Yeryomenko was to remain unbeaten in the shoot-out.

Regulation time was all about penalties, with Dynamo opening up a 2-0 lead early on thanks to two powerplay goals. Denis Kokarev opened the scoring and Maxim Solovyov's snorter from the blue line doubled that advantage, giving the impression it might be a routine evening for Oleg Znarok's men.

But having demonstrated the advantages of having an extra man, Dynamo soon saw the flip side of the penalty box. Vityaz got one back on its first powerplay, Vyacheslav Solodukhin scoring just five seconds after Gleb Koryagin was sin-binned. Late in the second period Vityaz won another numerical advantage, and shortly after the interval Maxim Afinogenov poked the puck through Yeryomenko's pads to level the scores.


Goal feast in Ufa
If Friday was a good day for the KHL's goaltenders, Saturday saw forwards finding their range again - and none more so than in the big Eastern Conference clash between Salavat Yulaev and Barys. The teams shared nine goals in a game which ebbed and flowed from the moment the home team raced into a 2-0 lead inside nine minutes.

Barys overhauled that advantage, but after Mike Lundin's powerplay goal gave the visitor the edge it took Salavat Yulaev just 36 seconds to tie it up thanks to Igor Mirnov. That was the cue for a dramatic flurry of goals which took the game out of the reach of the Kazakh team: Anton Slepyshev made it 4-3 and barely 30 seconds later Ari Ahonen was beaten for the third time in less than two minutes. The Finn briefly returned to the bench to recover, but was back on the ice for a penalty kill soon after.

His next disappearance proved fatal, though - with more than four minutes to play Barys went for broke, but an unlikely task became impossible when Tomas Zaborsky put his second goal of the game into an empty net to complete a 6-3 scoreline.


The comeback kings
In Magnitogorsk they don't understand the concept of a lost cause. Following Thursday's incredible recovery from 0-4 to beat Ugra, Metallurg snatched another victory from the jaws of defeat, sinking Avtomobilist in a shoot-out.

But the visitor was just 72 seconds away from snatching a 3-2 win before Jan Kovar - supplied, inevitably, by Sergei Mozyakin - tied it up 10 seconds after Magnitka switched to play 6v5. Then Bogdan Potekhin went on to win the shoot-out, adding to his second-period goal which completed Metallurg's first recovery from 0-2 to 2-2. Defeat was especially harsh on Avto's Fyodor Malykhin, who opened the scoring and assisted on Tobias Viklund's goal in the first period.

Around the league
Ugra enjoyed a rare victory, overcoming Traktor 2-0 in Chelyabinsk. The visitor got its second win in 18 games thanks to an early goal from Ivan Khlyntsev and a powerplay strike early in the third period from Igor Magogin. Alexei Kuznetsov made 26 saves to secure the shut-out and bring some relief to his long-suffering team.


Avangard's hopes of forcing into the play-off places got a boost with a confidence-building 4-0 win at Neftekhimik. The early stages were evenly matched, but after Stefan Ruzicka opened the scoring in the 27th minute it was one-way traffic. Ruzicka, Kirill Lyamin and Sergei Kalinin each finished with 1+1 as Avangard moved to within four points of the top eight.