It was a day of contrasting fortunes for two of the league’s struggling teams. Metallurg Novokuznetsk could celebrate after snapping a 12-game losing run with a shoot-out success at Lada, but Spartak, berated by angry fans over the weekend, slumped to a ninth successive defeat in the Moscow derby with CSKA. Elsewhere, Mikko Koskinen shut out HC Sochi as SKA eased to victory, Metallurg Magnitogorsk got the better of Lokomotiv and Vityaz recorded from 0-3 to beat Salavat Yulaev and boost its playoff prospects.
After 12 successive defeats, Metallurg finally tasted victory at the 13th attempt thanks to a shoot-out win in Togliatti.
The visitor, already resigned to finishing the season at the foot of the Eastern Conference, took an early lead here when Nikita Lyamkin fired past the screened Ilya Ezhov in the fifth minute. Lada levelled on the half-hour when Andrei Ivanov tucked away Nikita Filatov’s pass from close range.
Much of the rest of the game was dominated by goalies Ezhov and Vladislav Podyapolsky, with the latter claiming the victory in the shoot-out. He denied Filatov and Stanislav Bocharov, while Kirill Semyonov and Kirill Lebedev found the net for Metallurg to end that long losing streak.
With the playoff race entering its final stages, this games felt like a must-win fixture for both teams as they began the in ninth and eleventh in the Eastern Conference.
Sibir’s success – built on a shut-out from Danny Taylor and two goals from Stepan Sannikov, lifted the Siberians up to ninth place on 68 points, four adrift of Admiral with eight games to play. Neftekhimik is two points back, having played one more game.
Taylor’s resolute form between the piping was crucial, especially in the opening two periods when the home team had more of the scoring chances. The goalie finished with 32 saves, while a goal in each session saw Sibir home.
Sannikov opened the scoring in the seventh minute, but there was little to choose between the teams until Adam Polasek doubled the lead on the power play in the 37th. Sannikov added a third early in the final stanza and the visitor finished the stronger as Neftekhimik’s hopes of reaching post season suffered a major blow.
Two goals in two minutes midway through the second period set Magnitka on course for victory at Lokomotiv.
Home joy was short-lived, however, as Magnitka responded almost immediately. Just 24 seconds later, goalie Alexei Murygin was screened as Sergei Tereshchenko fired in a shot from the blue line. Then Jan Kovar was left all alone in front of the net and outfoxed the netminder to make it 3-1.
Lokomotiv could not find a way back into the game in the third period, and the game was wrapped up with an empty net goal from Evgeny Timkin. The home team saw the end of its five-game winning streak.
Torpedo missed the chance to return to third place in the Western Conference after slipping up at home to Severstal and falling to a third successive loss.
The host was always playing catch-up after Ilya Khokhlov opened the scoring in the fourth minute. The 22-year-old defenseman got his first goal of the season with almost the first Sevestal attack of the game.
Vojtech Polak doubled the visitor’s lead early in the second period, and despite Carter Ashton reducing the deficit shortly afterwards, Severstal was able to maintain its advantage. A power play goal midway through the third period from Maxim Trunyov wrapped up the victory for the visitor.
The league leader made short work of playoff-chasing Sochi, easing to a comfortable win beside the Black Sea.
Head coach Oleg Znarok resisted the temptation to rest his All-Star skaters, but did give Mikko Koskinen the start in goal ahead of Igor Shestyorkin. The Finn responded with 27 saves to record a shut-out, while SKA’s power play proved irresistible with three goals.
The opening goal took half-an-hour to arrive, but once Viktor Tikhonov put SKA in front there was no way back for the host. Ilya Kovalchuk picked out a perfect pass for Nikita Gusev to make it 2-0. In the third period Gusev turned provider for Evgeny Dadonov to get the second power play goal of the game before Vyacheslav Voynov fed Pavel Datsyuk to make it 4-0 late on.
Two goals from Juuso Hietanen helped Dynamo to a convincing win at home to Traktor and saw the Finnish D-man bring up 50 career KHL goals.
The early stages saw the home power play take control: after five minutes Lukas Kaspar’s power play goal opened the scoring, then Hietanen got his first of the night and his 50th career marker in the ninth minute to set Dynamo on the road to victory. Another Traktor penalty resulted in Artyom Fyodorov making it 3-0 in the 17th minute and the first period finished with the Blue-and-Whites absolutely on top.
Maxim Yakutsenya pulled one back for Traktor in the 29th minute, but it took less than 30 seconds for Maxim Karpov to respond for Dynamo. Artyom Podshendyalov added a fifth before the second intermission.
The third period offered little drama with the result already beyond doubt, but Hietanen added a sixth before Traktor’s last penalty of the game led to another goal – but this time it was a short-handed effort in the last minute from Yury Petrov.
An eight-game losing streak and an angry exchange with fans at Sunday’s training session piled up the pressure on Spartak ahead of this local derby – but the result offered little to calm the club’s unhappy ultras.
Video footage of a group of supporters haranguing the team in the locker room appeared online late on Sunday and prompted a strong statement from KHL’s management condemning the aggressive and abusive language of the fans, with the threat of further sanctions. But the supporters’ key demand – win the derby – proved beyond their team after a rampant second-period performance showed just why CSKA is riding so high in the table.
The visitor held a 1-0 lead at the first intermission after Yaroslav Dyblenko picked up a 5+20 penalty for boarding in the sixth minute and Stephane da Costa converted that power play. But the home team’s woes really started in the middle session as CSKA fired in four unanswered goals to the dismay of the Red-and-White crowd.
Sergei Andronov got the second, wrestling back possession after his shot was saved and forcing home the puck from close range. Next, Alexander Popov was given too much time and space on the slot to tuck away Kirill Petrov’s pass from behind the net. Denis Denisov made it 4-0 with a trademark thunderbolt and da Costa got his second when he snaffled the rebound from Artyom Blazhievsky’s shot.
In the final stanza, Spartak belatedly showed some spirit, killing a five-on-three power play before clawing a goal back from Konstantin Glazachev. But Alexander Kutuzov added a sixth for CSKA to complete an emphatic victory for the Army Men.
For Spartak, now on a run of nine losses, things don’t get any easier – the next visitor to the Red-and-Whites is table-topping SKA.
Vityaz edged closer to a historic playoff appearance after clawing back a 0-3 deficit to win in a shoot-out.
Alexei Kopeikin was the key player, getting the shoot-out winner to add to a goal and two assists in regulation as his team moved on to 80 points, three clear of ninth-placed Sochi.
Salavat Yulaev – inspired by Kirill Kaprizov – took control of the game early on. The youngster opened the scoring in the fourth minute and got his second of the night in the 24th. In between, Zakhar Arzamastsev, another bright prospect in Ufa, also found the net. Vityaz, trailling 0-3, needed to launch a recovery operation.
Kopeikin, rejuvenated this season after joining the Moscow Region team, proved to be the man for that mission. Assists on goals from Miro Aaltonen and Jakub Jerabek made it one-goal game before the much-travelled forward tied the scores in the 51st minute off a helper from Aaltonen.