CSKA Moscow 5
Salavat Yulaev Ufa 2
CSKA maintained its good early season form, while Salavat Yulaev remains rooted to the foot of the Eastern Conference after yet another defeat.
Wednesday night's game in Moscow was rich in subtexts: from the sight of former strike partners Alexander Radulov and Igor Grigorenko lining up on opposite sides to the on-going quest for consistency from the struggling visitor. But in the end it was the Army Men's early-season fluency that won the day.
CSKA has lost just once this season, and after battling hard for two periods the home team delivered a strong finale to continue that record and join early pacesetter Avtomobilist on 17 points. Third-period goals from Maxim Mamin, Geoff Platt (his second of the night) and Roman Lyubimov turned the game firmly in the Red-and-Blues' favor, snapping a 2-2 tie in decisive fashion.
Lyubimov's effort was the pick of the bunch: on the PK he claimed possession on his own blue line, evaded the D-man who floundered in his wake and converted his one-on-one against Niklas Svedberg.
Earlier, though, Salavat Yulaev showed greater resilience then its lowly league ranking might suggest. Despite twice falling behind, the visitor drew level thanks to power play goals from Zakhar Arzamastsev and Linus Omark. Finnish defenseman Sami Lepisto got an assist on both of those strikes to cancel out Gennady Stolyarov's first-period opener and Platt's first goal of the game.