Sergei Mozyakin added another accolade to a glittering season of goalscoring when he got his first playoff goal of 2017. Sliding the puck past Tomi Karhunen to help Magnitka to a 3-2 win at Kunlun, Mozyakin became the first player in the history of Russian or Soviet hockey to reach 1,000 career points in the top league of the national championship. Mozyakin quickly added his 1,001st point, assisting on Danis Zaripov’s game-winner as Magnitka goes 3-2 up in the series.
Elsewhere, Salavat Yulaev survived a scare to defeat Ak Bars despite giving up a 3-0 lead. Ak Bars still leads the series 2-1. Admiral’s Maxim Kazakov scored two as the Vladivostok team got its first playoff win of the season against Avangard and Barys went 2-1 up in its series against Traktor thanks to a 3-1 victory in front of 10,000 fans in Astana.
(Metallurg leads the series 3-0)
Sergei Mozyakin has dominated so many playoff games down the years that it is little to surprise to see him deliver a clutch goal in postseason. But Sunday’s go-ahead marker in Beijing was a little bit special – it brought the forward his 1,000th point in Russian club hockey.
It’s an unprecedented feat. No player in history has reached four figures in the Soviet or post-Soviet eras. His closest rival, Maxim Sushinsky, managed 818, a mark that Mozyakin surpassed back in March 2015. It also adds to the clutch of new records that Moyzakin – already a two-time Gagarin Cup winner – has set this season.
Like so many of his goals for Metallurg, Mozyakin’s big moment began with a pass from Danis Zaripov that picked him out on the right-hand face-off spot. This time, though, there was no instant shot. Instead he approached the net, drew Tomi Karhunen out of position and, even after the puck slid beyond the goal line, evaded the attentions of Tuukka Mantyla to hook it back and slide it into the net.
As well as achieving another landmark, it was a vital goal in this game – and possibly this series. Kunlun, playing the first ever postseason game in China, had shown every sign of treating the home crowd to an inspiring victory over the defending champion. Linus Videll’s first-period goal gave the Dragons something to roar about, the Swede converting a power play chance in stunning style as he beat all four Magnitka skaters before scoring on Vasily Koshechkin.
Magnitogorsk did not find it easy to get back into the game, with Kunlun restricting opportunities for one the KHL’s most deadly offenses. It wasn’t until the 35th minute that Denis Platonov tied the scores … and then Mozyakin took over.
His go-ahead goal followed before the second intermission, and his 1,001st point followed in the final stanza as Metallurg extended its lead on the power play. Mozyakin started the play, Chris Lee’s pass found Zaripov and the forward smashed home his first playoff goal of the season to make it 3-1. Kunlun got one back almost immediately through Oleg Yashin to keep the game alive with just under five minutes to play but, despite generating chances in the closing minutes, the home team could not salvage a much-needed victory from the game and now trails 0-3 in the series.
(Avangard leads the series 2-1)
Young forward Maxim Kazakov has been one of the hottest shots of this year’s playoffs, and today’s double strike put him on the winning team for the first time in this post-season.
Kazakov, 23, seems to have acquired a taste for playing against his former club. The forward left Avangard for Vladivostok in the summer and is relishing the chance to show his former employer what it is missing. Two goals in two games as the series began in Omsk opened the dialogue and today’s game-winning double emphatically underlined his point.
He got his first of the evening in the 32nd minute, adding to Sergei Barbashev’s first-period opener and giving Admiral a 2-0 lead. But his key contribution came with five minutes left, after Avangard had battled back to tie the game at 3-3. Damir Zhafyarov played the puck back from the corner and Kazakov fired a shot from the face-off circle that went over Dominik Furch’s shoulder. However, it took some time for the forward to claim his marker: the puck flew back into play off the camera in the back of the net, and it wasn’t until the officials had time to review the video that goal could be given. To the delight of the home crowd, it proved decisive.
For Admiral, this win brought a sense of justice being served. The Vladivostok team was hugely disappointed with events in Omsk during Friday’s 3-6 defeat, in which a crucial Avangard goal was preceded by a foul that left Robert Sabolic injured. Sabolic has not been on the ice since, but head coach Alexander Andriyevsky escaped further censure for his outburst at the officials and was back behind the bench for Sunday’s encounter.
He presided over a nail-biting affair. After Barbashev and Kazakov gave Admiral that 2-0 lead, Avangard fought back strongly. Vladimir Sobotka’s first playoff goal of the season halved the deficit almost immediately and despite Vadim Krasnoslobodtsev making it 3-1 with a short-handed goal in the 36th minute, the visitor struck back with goals either side of the second intermission. Valentin Pyanov and Pyotr Khokhryakov hauled Avangard back onto level terms, only for Kazakov to grab the winner.
Victory for Admiral breathes new life into this series, putting the outsider on the board and ensuring that – at the very least – Avangard will have to return to Omsk to wrap up the series.
(Barys leads the series 2-1)
Barys regained the initiative in this series thanks to two goals from Nigel Dawes. The Canadian forward took his post-season tally to three, further cementing his status as the KHL’s all-time leading goalscorer among imports and wiping out the lead that Dmitry Pestunov gave the visitor in the first period.
Pestunov’s marker came barely 30 seconds before the end of the first period, and the power play strike was just reward for Traktor’s dominance of the opening stanza. It wasn’t without an element of good fortune, though: the forward slung the puck across the front of the net from a wide position and benefited from a kind bounce off goalie Henrik Karlsson’s stick to open the scoring.
Then Dawes got going. A Barys power play early in the second period handed him the chance to tie the game. An attack from deep seemed to have broken down in the Traktor zone, but Konstantin Pushkaryov recycled the puck to Dawes who shot home from a central position. Early in the third period, Barys’ captain did it again to put his team in front. Collecting a loose puck in center ice, he rushed to the left-hand circle and whipped a wicked shot over Pavel Francouz’ glove and inside the near post for an unassisted score.
Traktor looked for an equalizer, but Barys worked hard to limit the visitor’s sights of the net before wrapping the victory late on with an empty-net goal from Corey Trivino. The Kazakh team has the edge in this series, and with a second home game coming on Tuesday, Barys now has high hopes of winning a playoff series for only the second time in nine attempts.
(Ak Bars leads the series 2-1)
The latest instalment of the ‘Green Derby’ served up a thriller in Ufa, with the home team edging the verdict by the odd goal in seven.
But Igor Zakharkin will be wondering just why the evening finished in such a tense fashion after his team made a storming start and powered into a 3-0 lead before Ak Bars hit back to tie the game. It took a third-period goal from Enver Lisin to settle the outcome. The home team brought the puck out of a scrimmage on the boards and Lisin advanced on the net before whipping a devastating wrist shot past Emil Garipov. That was 4-3 with eight minutes left, and this time Salavat Yulaev held on to its lead.
A dramatic finish seemed a long way off when the home team blazed into action from the start. Kirill Kaprizov opened the scoring after five minutes, claiming his second playoff goal of the season after exchanging passes with Linus Omark behind the net. Two minutes later Lisin had an assist as Denis Kulyash made it 2-0, then Omark added a third on the PP early in the second period.
But Ak Bars hit back right away. Fyodor Malykhin reduced the deficit within 26 seconds, and penalty trouble put the home team on the back foot. Jiri Sekac and Justin Azevedo scored power play goals, Vasily Tokranov assisted on both, and the scores were level after a flurry of three strikes in 10 minutes from the visitor.
Salavat swapped goalies, bringing in Niklas Svedberg to replace Andrei Gavrilov, and the Swede found himself under pressure early in the third when another Ak Bars power play presented Sekac with a wonderful chance before Tokranov saw a powerful shot beaten away. But the home team steadied itself and managed to snatch a vital goal, earning victory in this game and breathing new life into the series.