Nizhny Novgorod (17:00)
Result of the day
Sibir Novosibirsk - HC MVD Moscow Region 1-3. Oleg Znarok’s (pictured) team now find themselves riding high in fourth place, looking down on Ak Bars, Dynamo, Lokomotiv, Avangard… and one could name several other outfits below them, who before the season were assumed to be superior to the Militia Men from Balashikha.
And now to tackle the riddle of how they have managed this. The simple answer is that it is a consequence of their superb team play - it seems they do not have a single player who doesn’t carry out the coach’s advice to the letter - but it begs the question: how is this possible? They have neither the largest budget, nor the strongest squad, but the results are exceptional. Surely it is all down to the coach. The points are coming because of Alexei Kudashov’s shrewd tactics, plus the lively movement of Alexei Tsvetkov, plus the reliability of Filip Novak. But the main star is head coach Oleg Znarok, who has his team not merely punching above their weight, but already mixing it with the Goliaths.
In the day’s other matches, Amur won in overtime against Lokomotiv, 3-2, and Metallurg Novokuznetsk were beaten on their own ice by Spartak, 2-3.
Gelashvili out on his own
Georgy Gelashvili consolidated his top position in the table of the championship’s most penalized goaltenders, having picked up another 14 minutes for his run-in with David Ling. In 22 matches, the Lokomotiv keeper has accumulated 68 penalty minutes, leaving Martin Gerber of Atlant trailing in second place, 15 minutes behind.
Nobody is perfect
Metallurg Novokuznetsk defenseman Anton Kapotov earned his first penalty minutes playing in his 29th game. In the previous 28 the youngster behaved impeccably, without once attracting the attention of the officials.
For the first time this season Metallurg Novokuznetsk have thrown away a 2-0 lead and suffered defeat. Previously, Dmitri Parkhomenko’s team had scored the first two goals in three games, and won all three.
HC MVD attacker Denis Kokarev claimed his first hat-trick of assists in his KHL career. It is the second time he has collected three points from a game, the first was last season against Dinamo Minsk, when he scored two goals and made another.
Spartak attacker Andrei Kuzmin started this season at Neftekhimik, where he managed just an assist in 19 games. Having made the move to Spartak, the forward has already scored a double in only his second game for his new club. Kuzmin appeared for clubs in Perm, Nizhny Novgorod, Nizhnekamsk and Kazan. His personal record in Russian championships: 17 goals for Neftekhimik in season 2007-08.
Figures of the day
33 shots at the Lokomotiv goal by the Amur players.
60 shots at goal in the game between Amur and Lokomotiv.
75% of 20 face-offs won by HC MVD attacker Matt Ellison.
25 minutes 9 seconds spent in play by Amur defender Yakov Seleznev.
Dimitrij Kotschnew (Spartak). Saved 26 shots, helping his team to a hard-fought victory.
Vitaly Vishnevsky (Lokomotiv). Scored a goal, finished the game with a +1.
Andrei Skopintsev (HC MVD). Scored the winning goal, earned a +1.
Alexei Ugarov (HC MVD). Both his shots in the match against Sibir ended up in the net.
Andrei Kuzmin (Spartak). Struck a double his second game at his new club.
Alexander Yunkov (Amur). Scored the decisive goal in overtime.
“This season they’ve simply stopped asking me about fights, and I’ve stopped giving promises. I don’t see anything wrong in one tough guy challenging another via the press,” – Traktor defenseman Martin Grenier in an interview on the club’s official website.
“I’d like to pick out our goaltender, Kotschnew, who picked himself up at 0-2 and played with consistency from then on,” - Spartak head coach Milos Riha.
“I’m not happy with our defenders - conceding two goals from close range. That’s where we need to be livelier and tougher,” - Sibir head coach Andrei Tarasenko.
“In the last three games we’ve played 11 times with a man advantage, and 21 times when outnumbered,” - Lokomotiv head coach Kari Heikkila.
Alexei Shevchenko, khl.ru