Result of the day
Vityaz - Neftekhimik 5-4. One wonders which recent news item had the greater effect on the Vityaz players. Is it the one about the prosecutor’s office taking an interest in the Avangard brawl? Now all at Chekhov, Darsy Verot included, have started demonstrating that they don’t carry their sticks in vain after all, and are as good at putting passes together and scoring goals as they are at brawling and spreading their opponents across the ice. So a big thank you to the forces of law and order. We could do without a criminal case from the brawl, of course, but they have fired up the players more than any coach could.

The announcement of his return by Alexei Zhamnov, general manager of the team, could also be a factor. Now the threat of being ousted from the side by the veteran is hanging over the forwards. It would not look too good in the future - how do you explain losing your place in the team to a 39-year-old?

And in all seriousness, we must also mention Alexei Yarushkin, who in a very short time has rallied the team and managed to get his fighters playing hockey.

A day of firsts
Neither in the current nor the previous championship had Vityaz managed three straight victories until today. Even though one of these was an overtime win, the result is still unique for the men from Chekhov. Now they have a new target: to equal and then beat the club record of taking points from four consecutive games, which they achieved last season.

It is the first time in two years that Neftekhimik have suffered four regulation time defeats in a row. In this losing spell, Vladimir Krikunov’s team seem to have no particular problem in attack, managing 14 goals, but clearly all is not well with the defense: 19 conceded in reply.

Goal drought
CSKA goaltender Konstantin Barulin has kept his second clean sheet of the current season, joining seven other keepers who have been unbeaten in two games. The championship has two leaders on this score: Vasily Koshechkin and Georgy Gelashvili have each played the perfect game on six occasions.

For CSKA, it is their third clean sheet, matching their total for last season.

As for Lada, it is the fifth time in this championship that they have failed to penetrate their opponents’ defenses. If we include last season, the Togliatti men have now suffered 13 such games.

All or nothing
The fans in Nizhny Novgorod this season have not even seen a single overtime, let alone a shoot-out. Every single Torpedo home game has been settled in regulation time. So far Evgeny Popikhin’s team has won 13 and lost 10 on their own ice, making them the 12th best home team in the League. If they did not have to play away games, they would be comfortably placed in the play-off zone.

Figures of the day
34 shots at the Vityaz goal from the Neftekhimik players.

5 shots at goal by Ak Bars attackers Jarkko Immonen and Alexei Badyukov, and also by Neftekhimik forward Niklas Persson.

24 minutes 45 seconds spent in play by Ak Bars defenseman Andrei Pervyshin.

60.9% of 23 face-offs won by Ak Bars attacker Niko Kapanen.

Key players
Konstantin Barulin (CSKA). Saved 16 shots in the game against Lada.

Maxim Goncharov (CSKA). The Army Men’s most persistent threat to the opposition goal; scored the game-winner.

Andrei Kolesnikov (Vityaz). Made an assist, and finished with an efficiency rating of +3.

Evgeny Bodrov (Ak Bars). Supplied the decisive pass for two of his team’s goals, and finished at a +2.

Alexei Badyukov (Ak Bars). Scored the winning goal, and earned a rating of +2.

Chris Simon (Vityaz, pictured). Fired three shots at goal, two of which found the target.

“With the score at 2-2 we made a mistake, and conceded a goal from a counter-attack,” - Torpedo head coach Evgeny Popikhin.

“We let in two goals playing 4 on 5, and our attack didn’t quite play well enough to come back from this,” - Sergei Svetlov, assistant coach at Lada.

Alexei Shevchenko,

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