Result of the day
Atlant - Dinamo Minsk 3-2. It is safe to say Dinamo Minsk can start printing invitations to their end-of-season party. The gap between them and eighth place is now 11 points - still within reach, of course, but only in theory. And there are already rumors circulating here that two of their best players are poised to move to a club which will still feature in play-offs.
The Minsk men have not repeated the mistakes of last season, namely their strange choice of North American imports, but they have still not had enough stability. The problem is not a lack of experience, but a lack of time for the new boys to come together and play as a unit. This season they practically had to start from scratch again, having hardly the bare bones of a team, let alone the spine.
Now is the time to see how Dinamo prepare for the next championship. If another 20 players come and go, then next year will just be a repeat of this one. Getting through 42 players in a season is one thing, but it’s quite another when the veterans of the previous campaign are outnumbered by the newcomers.
Avtomobilist firing blanks
Avtomobilist have left the rink without managing a goal seven times this season, and on this score they are second only to… none other than today’s opponents, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, who have two more scoreless matches to their name. And it is also only the second time the Siberians have kept their own goal intact for an entire match.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk have scored their fifth short-handed goal of this championship. The goal was also the fifth that Amur have conceded while having the man advantage. The team most likely to concede despite outnumbering their opponents is Metallurg Novokuznetsk, who have been punished by 10 such goals to date.
Traktor posted a phenomenal statistic in the game against Sibir, managing to score in 100% of powerplays. It is worth noting that the men from Chelyabinsk have not been the most deadly at converting numerical advantage into goals, with an average of just 14.06%. They were, however, playing against the worst team in the League at defending while outnumbered. The Novosibirsk side’s record for keeping their goal intact while short-handed is a lowly 76.72%.
Triumvirate of goalies
SKA goaltender Robert Esche has become one of three leaders in the second KHL championship for total clean sheets, joining Vasily Koshechkin and Georgy Gelashvili on six perfect games. Interestingly, Esche is only eighth in the League for percentage of shots saved. The leader? Robert’s clubmate, Maxim Sokolov.
Strongest will to win
Dinamo Riga have fought back to win from three goals down for the second time this season, repeating their recent exploits when they took all three points from Dynamo in Moscow. This time it was Severstal who dropped their guard too early. Apart from the Latvians, the other teams who have snatched a victory after a similar nightmare start are Avtomobilist, Vityaz, HC MVD and Salavat Yulaev, but these clubs have performed such heroics only once.
Business as usual
HC MVD have found themselves playing “5-on-3” more often than any other team. They have been presented with a two-man advantage on 35 occasions, and have gratefully converted nine of these into goals. The Militia Men themselves have had to play “3-on-5” twenty times this season, but have conceded just a single goal.
Barys are now one of the League’s leading clubs for total overtime victories, winning on five of the thirteen occasions they have had to play the added time. Today’s opponents, Lokomotiv, do not share Barys’s love for the extra five minutes. This was the Yaroslavl team’s fourth overtime defeat this season.
Figures of the day
43 shots at the Lokomotiv goal from the Barys players.
28 minutes 8 seconds spent in play by Severstal defenseman Andrei Shefer.
80% of 20 face-offs won by Dinamo Riga attacker Janis Sprukts.
Alexander Vyukhin (Metallurg Novokuznetsk). Not only saved all 28 shots he faced, but also supplied the assist for a goal.
Evgeny Biryukov (Metallurg Magnitogorsk). Made an assist and earned an efficiency rating of +2.
Ivan Baranka (Spartak). Finished the game with a rating of +1.
Marcel Hossa (Dinamo Riga). Added two goals in powerplay and an assist to his account.
Nils Ekman (SKA). Struck the only goal of the game against Dynamo Moscow.
Jan Bulis (Atlant). Spent 22 minutes on the ice, and scored two goals.
“I don’t think we deserved to be beaten today, we should have taken at least a point,” - Dynamo Moscow head coach Andrei Khomutov.
“I wanted the team to help the goalie keep a clean sheet, and that’s why I had to shout a little at the guys towards the end,” - Traktor head coach Andrei Nazarov.
Alexei Shevchenko, khl.ru