Salavat Yulaev head coach Erkka Westerlund is noted as a master of the cautious, disciplined Finnish approach to the game – but today his team cut loose in explosive fashion, scoring 11 on HC Sochi in a game that set three new KHL records.
Elsewhere, Andrei Markov continued his bright start to the season. His first goal of the campaign helped Ak Bars to a fourth straight regulation-time win and maintained his record of getting among the points in every game on his return to Russia. Spartak Moscow gatecrashed Dinamo Riga’s homecoming, winning 3-1 in Latvia.
It wasn’t the KHL’s highest scoring game, nor the biggest victory recorded in the competition. But Salavat Yulaev’s demolition of Sochi established three new scoring records.
Two of them were achieved inside 40 minutes: the home team was the first to score 10 goals in two periods, and the 13 goals shared by the opponents was the highest tally recorded before the second intermission. Salavat Yulaev also had 10 different goalscorers, another KHL record. Enver Lisin was the exception, scoring the ninth and 11th goals. In total, 21 players picked up points in this one – six from Sochi, 15 from Ufa.
Oddly enough, the game began with Sochi taking the lead: Casey Wellman opened the scoring in the fourth minute. The response was emphatic, with 10 unanswered goals from Salavat Yulaev – four in the first period, six in the next. Konstantin Barulin was replaced in net after the sixth, Dmitry Shikin had the unenviable task of replacing him. Sochi managed a brief revival late in the second, making the scoreline marginally less lopsided, but nothing was going to change the outcome and Lisin wrapped up the scoring in a rather calmer final session.
Ak Bars became the first team to record four victories in regulation, and Andrei Markov got his first goal since returning from the NHL.
Markov, who has been among the points in every game he’s played, got the tying goal after Denis Zernov opened the scoring in the first minute in Kazan. Like the veteran defenseman, the Lada man has also made a bright start to the season and he moved on to four goals and one assist with the opener here. Unlike Markov, Zernov is a name to watch for the long-term future: this is the 21-year-old’s sophomore season after posting 13 points in 51 games last time around.
Ak Bars’ fourth line made the decisive difference in the second period. Andrei Popov had a goal and an assist, Anton Glinkin had two helpers and Mikhail Glukhov also found the net as the host jumped out to a 3-1 lead. Kristaps Sotnieks reduced the arrears on a power play late in the stanza but Ak Bars was in no mood to let the initiative slip. The third period brought two more goals: Andrei Chibisov potted his second of the season in the 54th minute and Justin Azevedo wrapped it up with an empty net goal at the death.
Spartak’s imports did the damage as the Red-and-Whites took control of this game in the third period.
The match-up was scoreless through 40 minutes, but Lukas Radil put the visitor ahead with a short-handed goal early in the third. Ben Maxwell converted a power play chance four minutes later before Vyacheslav Leshchenko added a Russian name to the scoring list when he made the game safe in the 49th minute, despite a consolation goal from Nikita Jevpalovs.
It all added up to an unhappy homecoming for Sandis Ozolins and Dinamo. The team came into its first home game of the season with two wins under its belt at Barys and Lada, but failed to continue that form in front of its own fans.