Result of the day
Ak Bars - Avtomobilist 1-2. So it was just an illusion that the Kazan men had left all their troubles behind. The moment they climb to ninth place - a lofty position for them this season - they slip again, this time beaten by a club who are not even in the play-off zone. And no-one who saw this game can complain about the result. Yes, the hosts fired off 35 shots, but in the main most of their attacks were pretty wayward, and Ivan Lisutin did not have to strain himself. Such defeats, not from the classiest or most powerful, but from just well-organized teams, must be troubling for fans of the Gagarin Cup holders. The visitors were simply well-marshaled: none of them went wandering, all of them played in position, and this proved enough for victory. And Marek Sykora’s outfit fired all of 15 shots at the champions’ goal.

Time is passing; we are already halfway through January, and Ak Bars just cannot get back to their previous level. Incidentally, it is worth a look now at the gap between Avtomobilist and the play-off zone.

Avtomobilist’s solid defense
Avtomobilist were playing short-handed seven times in the match against Ak Bars and did not concede a single goal. This lifts them to sixth place in the League for neutralizing the disadvantage of playing 4 on 5. The KHL new boys have now overcome 87.84% of dismissals. The leaders on this score are Dynamo Moscow, with 91.32%.

Nizhnekamsk lightning strike
Neftekhimik attacker Evgeny Lapenkov has struck the fastest double of the current championship. He needed only 59 seconds to score twice against Metallurg Magnitogorsk, beating by one second the previous record set by Salavat Yulaev’s Patrick Thoresen. Lapenkov’s brace is the third fastest in KHL history, bettered only by his present clubmate, Sergei Demagin, who was appearing for Dinamo Minsk last year, and Anton Nosov of Vityaz. The KHL record for the fastest double - 34 seconds.

First goal
Traktor attacker Evgeny Kuznetsov will only turn 18 this May, but is already a first team player for the Chelyabinsk side, having spent quite a lot of time out on the ice for a newcomer. In his 23rd appearance Evgeny opened his account with a goal, and no ordinary goal but one which clinched victory for the Ural men as they battle for a place in the play-offs.

Petersburg’s Army Men have played four games against CSKA this season, and won all four. Twice the final score has read 3:2, and twice SKA have won by five goals.

Record repeated
Severstal have equaled their biggest ever away win in all Russian championships. Last season they hammered Lada 7:2 in Togliatti, and this time they punished Vityaz in Chekhov by the same score. The Cherepovets club have scored seven away goals on another occasion, in Minsk, but then the hosts replied with three goals. This season, Dmitry Kvartalnov’s side had never managed more than five goals on their travels until today.

Empty net
For the first time this season, HC MVD have scored into an unguarded goal. There are now only two teams left in the League, Lada and Vityaz, who are still to score into an empty net. The KHL leaders on this score are Dinamo Riga. Seven times they have taken full advantage when the opposition have pulled the goaltender. The Militia men were far more ruthless last season, scoring five times against opponents who had taken the keeper off.

Figures of the day
37 shots at the Severstal goal from the Vityaz players.

7 shots at goal by Neftekhimik attacker Maxim Yakutsenya.

26 minutes 53 seconds spent in play by Ak Bars defenseman Ilya Nikulin.

73.3% of 17 face-offs won by Vityaz attacker Vadim Berdnikov.

Key players
Ivan Lisutin (Avtomobilist). Saved 34 shots, bringing his team victory at the home of the reigning champions.

Oleg Piganovich (Traktor). Opened his account in the match, and finished the game with an efficiency rating of +2.

Pavel Kanarsky (Severstal). Was the most productive of his team’s defensemen, meriting a rating of +3.

Evgeny Lapenkov (Neftekhimik). Scored two goals, including the game-winner, in 59 seconds.

Sergei Brylin (SKA). Scored the winning goal and finished with a +1.

Yury Babenko (HC MVD). To his account he added a goal, an assist, and earned a +1.

“Firstly, it was a disgrace,” - Lada head coach Petr Vorobiev.

“We had two different teams in the squad in one match,” - CSKA head coach Sergei Nemchinov.

Alexei Shevchenko,

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