CSKA goalie Kevin Lalande made his first appearance for the club against his former team Dinamo Minsk – and celebrated with a shut-out as the Army Men won 2-0.
Lalande made 15 saves, CSKA remains just three points behind their Army comrades from Petersburg.
Evgeny Dadonov fired a hat-trick in the last 10 minutes to ensure SKA reached its 10-game milestone with an emphatic triumph but while the final scoreline was decisive SKA found, not for the first time this season, that it took some time to subdue an obdurate opponent.
Only a quick-fire pair of goals at the start of the third finally gave Vyacheslav Bykov’s team some breathing space: Jimmie Ericsson and Dmitry Kalinin scored two in a minute to put the game beyond Vityaz’s reach.
Vadim Shipachyov put the home side ahead in the fourth minute, but Vityaz hung in there to remain in contention at the first intermission. Then, right after the break, Vyacheslav Solodukhin tied it up.
SKA responded with an Andrei Kuteikin goal midway through the second period but Vityaz continued to press hard, outshooting SKA 11-7 in the middle session before running out of steam in the third.
A dominant display in Omsk saw the home team power to an 8-1 win, as Sergei Shirokov scored twice to go to the top of the goalscoring charts with 12 for the season.
Sochi’s miserable evening was summed up by the two short-handed goals the team gave up. First Sergei Kalinin robbed goalie Tomas Popperle out by the boards and scored into an empty net, then Alexander Popov stole the puck on his own blue line, exchanged passes with Tom Wandell and wrecked another Sochi power play.
The 22-year-old got his first goals of the season to open up a 2-0 lead for Magnitka as Kuznya’s encouraging recent run came to an abrupt end at the defending champion. Rafael Batyrshin and Jan Kovar also found the net.
A Latvian double-act lifted Dynamo Moscow to a 2-1 win at Barys. Martins Karsums and Kaspars Daugavins scored two goals in two minutes early in the second period. Alexander Yeryomenko made 35 saves to keep his team ahead.
Neftekhimik celebrated a late recovery to grab a thrilling 6-5 overtime win at Torpedo. The home side looked to be home and hosed when Vadim Krasnoslobodtsev made it 5-3 with barely five to play. But Alexander Yevseyenkov and Maxim Rybin’s second of the game tied it up with 38 seconds left and Pyotr Khokhryakov won it in the extras.
Avtomobilist snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 3-1 success at home to Amur. Gilbert Brule was the cream of the performers on the night, scoring twice. Mikhail Zheleznov got Amur’s goal and forced a big save out of Jakub Kovar as he closed on a late equalizer.
Severstal edged a 4-3 verdict over Lada with David Ullstrom claiming the game winner in the 46th minute. The home team raced into a 3-0 lead, but Lada showed great character to claw back to 3-2 and 4-3.