Tuesday was a day where few games were as settled as they seemed. The most remarkable recovery came in Ufa, where Barys scored three times in the last minute to beat Salavat Yulaev 5-3. Earlier in that one, the host had battled back from 0-2.
Sochi also retrieved a losing position, wiping out a 0-3 deficit to beat Neftekhimik. In Chelyabinsk, Traktor trailed 1-3 against Amur but won in a shoot-out.
CSKA and Kunlun had an easier time of it, both teams recording shut-out wins to go to the top of their respective conferences. Magnitka and Avangard beat Admiral and Slovan respectively.
Mike Keenan is used to being on top – and he’s taken his new team to the summit of the Eastern Conference.
A 2-0 victory at Lada made it four wins in a row, five victories from seven games, and put Red Star two points clear of Ak Bars.
After the thrills and spills of Sunday’s shoot-out win at Traktor, the trip to Tolyatti was a less wild affair. Instead, Kunlun delivered a solid performance. An early goal from Kyle Chipchura – assisted by KHL Rookie of the Week Pavel Vorobei – got things moving. Solid goaltending from Magnus Hellberg – 23 saves for his first shut-out in the KHL – and brave defense with 13 blocked shots frustrated the home team. Wojtek Wolski capitalized on a defensive error in the third to maintain his high-speed start to the season. He now has five points from three games and looks set to be a leader in Beijing.
The game also marks the end of Kunlun’s seven-game road trip. Keenan’s men finally get to sample the atmosphere of their home arena on Saturday, and will do so from an unprecedented high point in the league table.
Barys scored three times in the last minute to snatch an unlikely victory from a roller-coaster of a game in Ufa.
But it wasn’t the only fightback of the day: Barys raced into a 2-0 lead early on, only to see Salavat Yulaev move into a winning position before that spectacular finish.
The visitor took the initiative in the first period. Dawes opened the scoring in the ninth minute and 44 seconds later Vladimir Markelov made it 2-0. Salavat struck back with a quickfire salvo of its own in the middle session: Joonas Kemppainen scored on a power play and Artyom Fyodorov tied it up 40 seconds later.
When Teemu Hartikainen made it 3-2 for Ufa with less than 10 to play, the recovery seemed to be complete. But a late penalty on Evgeny Korotkov saw Barys throw everything forward. Dawes scored on the power play, with his team playing 6-on-4 hockey, to tie the game on 59:06. St. Pierre grabbed the eventual game-winner on 59:37 and Dawes had time to find the empty net and seal the win.
Westerlund admitted afterwards that he could say little about what went on at the end. “I just don’t understand how that can happen in professional hockey,” he said.
Two days after losing in a shoot-out after a 4-4 tie, Traktor found itself in a similar position – and got the win.
Nick Bailen settled a high-scoring shoot-out, converting both his attempts as Traktor edged it 4-3.
That echoed a game where goals were freely traded. Paul Szczechura gave Traktor a first-period lead, but the home team had to fight back from 1-3 down after Vyacheslav Litovchenko, Bogdan Potekhin and Oleg Li scored for Amur. That response was swift: Igor Polygalov, Szczechura and Alexander Rybakov reinstated Traktor’s lead with three goals in three minutes either side of the midway point.
Litovchenko matched Szczechura’s two-goal haul to equalize in the third, but this time Traktor delivered in the extras.
Sergei Mozyakin scored twice to lead Metallurg to victory at home to struggling Admiral. Magnitka’s captain found the net either side of the first intermission to put his team in control. Both those goals came during a spell of 5-on-3 play, both were assisted by Matt Ellison and Yaroslav Kosov, and in between, Mozyakin found time to rattle the crossbar as well.
Admiral, bottom of the Eastern Conference with just one win in seven games, rallied. Viktor Alexandrov halved the deficit almost immediately, and after Jan Kovar made it 3-1 off a Mozyakin assist, Pavel Makhanovsky converted a power play to keep the game alive.
Another power play killed it off, though. Oskar Osala diverted Tomas Filippi’s shot into the net to give Magnitka an unassailable advantage and the third period saw the home team play out the game with few alarms.
After seeing a bright start dissipate after losses against Lada and Salavat Yulaev, Neftekhimik hoped it was back on track after racing out of the blocks beside the Black Sea. Alexander Avtsin, Marat Khairullin and Chad Rau blasted home three goals in 51 seconds midway through the first period to leave Sochi looking down and out.
But the home team dug in, and ended up claiming the victory. Ivan Zakharchuk stopped the rot with a goal late in the first period, Ilya Khokhlov made it 2-3 midway through the second, but it was Pavel Padakin who turned the game on its head with two goals early in the third. Padakin, 23, is only in his second season in the KHL, but his pair in this game took his tally to three for the season – already half of his goal return from 2016-17. A late goal from Evgeny Lapenkov sealed the deal for the host.
After three losses, Sibir got back on form with a tight win at Vityaz. The visitor took the lead three seconds before the first intermission through Alexander Bergstrom, but Vityaz tied it up in the second thanks to Nikita Vyglazov.
Once again, though, Sibir struck late in the session and Patrik Zackrisson’s goal in the 39th minute proved decisive.
Home coach Valery Belov praised the efforts of rookie goalie Anton Todykov, making his KHL debut due to Igor Saprykin’s illness, but lamented the lack of support the youngster enjoyed from his colleagues.
CSKA made it six wins in a row with a powerful performance at home to Ugra. The Army Men totally dominated the game, outshooting the visitor 42-18 in a comprehensive display of attacking hockey.
So great was the home dominance that the team could effectively rest up after two periods, knowing the job was done with an unassailable 5-0 lead. And all this against an opponent that arrived on the back of wins at Vityaz and Slovan.
The damage was done in the first stanza. Konstantin Okulov, Anton Burdasov and Mikhail Grigorenko – all summer arrivals – highlighted the depth of options available for CSKA’s offense. Interestingly, just seven games into the season, CSKA rested Kirill Kaprizov and Nikita Nesterov and thus named a roster that did not include a single player who had played in every fixture. The strength in depth is impressive.
The second period saw two more goals, from Kirill Petrov and Alexander Popov, as CSKA continued to dominate. Only in the third, with Ugra already beaten, did the game become more even. The teams traded shots but nobody added to the scoring.
After a heavy defeat at Vityaz last time out, questions were asked about Avangard’s commitment to the cause. The team produced an answer in Slovakia.
At the end of its longest road trip of the season, the visitor wasted little time in suppressing a team that has shown some promising signs on home ice. Just five minutes in, Ilya Mikheyev opened the scoring and Kirill Semyonov doubled the lead.
Marek Viedensky pulled one back for Slovan, and a goalless middle session kept the game alive going into the third period.
But Ansel Galimov got his first goal since his transfer from Dynamo Moscow to give Avangard a 3-1 lead and there was no way back for Slovan. The game finished with a memorable moment for Dmitry Zhukenov. The 20-year-old got his first ever KHL goal in only his second appearance to wrap up the victory.