Nizhny Novgorod (17:00)
Result of the day
Ak Bars - Barys 4-1. All through this game, visiting coach Andrei Shayanov was calling on his men to play more neatly and not to back off, but they were not listening. In the end the Kazan side, having scored three goals in powerplay, pulled off a surprise victory. Surprising, first of all, in the final score, but the scoreboard should not deceive us into thinking the guests were completely insipid. Barys certainly had moments aplenty in attack, finding themselves 2 on 1 and even 3 on 1, but they simply could not convert these chances into goals.
It is honestly very hard to recall so much sloppy defending from Ak Bars, and it’s beyond understanding why they have become so weak at the back, given that we all know the attention Zinetula Bilyaletdinov devotes to defense. On the whole, there are positives for Ak Bars - they now capitalize on numerical advantage and they boast a consistent goaltender. In the 'minus' column - the defense. Of this, we can be sure, the head coach is fully aware, and he has a whole month to put things right.
In the match between Amur and Atlant, attackers David Ling and Vadim Yepanchintsev had their most productive games of their KHL careers. Ling set up three goals for his comrades, and Yepanchintsev went even further - three assists plus a goal to his name.
Avangard’s win over Neftekhimik was only their second shoot-out victory of the season, although the Omsk side’s triumph becomes less of a surprise when you look at their victim’s record: the Nizhnekamsk men have celebrated success just once in five shoot-outs.
With their three goals in powerplay, Ak Bars have moved up to second in the League for percentage of goals scored while playing 5 on 4, with 17.44%. The Gagarin Cup holders trail only SKA, whose success rate stands at 19.84%. Zinetula Bilyaletdinov’s team has scored 45 goals, five fewer than the Petersburg men.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk forward Denis Platonov’s two goals against Traktor came just 2 minutes 25 seconds apart, earning him the 13th fastest double of the current season. First place still belongs to Dmitry Tarasov of Sibir, who needed only 31 seconds to score twice against Avangard.
Spartak have now scored five times into an unguarded net, after their opponents have exchanged the goaltender for a sixth skater. Dinamo Riga lead the way on this score with seven such goals this season.
As for today’s victims, Lokomotiv, it is the second time in the current campaign the men from Yaroslavl have been punished for pulling the goalie.
Worst of all
Dinamo Minsk have opened the scoring in 36 matches this KHL championship, but have held on to win only 20 of them. Their record of 16 defeats after taking a 1-0 lead is the worst of any club this season, although Traktor are only one defeat away from joining them.
The fightback was a little out of character for Torpedo. It was only the 8th time in 28 matches the Nizhny Novgorod men have won after conceding the first goal.
Figures of the day
50 shots at the Metallurg Novokuznetsk goal from by SKA players.
8 of these came from Maxim Sushinsky.
29 minutes 18 seconds spent in play by Ak Bars defenseman Andrei Pervyshin.
84.2% of 19 face-offs won by Ak Bars attacker Niko Kapanen.
Evgeny Konobry (Spartak). Saved 28 shots, bringing his team victory away at Lokomotiv.
Andrei Pervyshin (Ak Bars). Spent nearly half an hour out on the ice and supplied the passes for two goals.
Vladimir Malenkikh (Metallurg Magnitogorsk). Made an assist and finished the game with an efficiency rating of +3.
Evgeny Ketov (Severstal). Scored a short-handed goal and also merited a +3.
Petr Schastlivy (Salavat Yulaev). Added one goal, two assists, and a rating of +3 to his account.
Alexanders Nizivijs (Dinamo Riga). Scored one of his team’s goals and supplied the decisive passes for two more.
“We have a chance of making the play-offs - a small chance, but a chance all the same,” - Severstal head coach Dmitry Kvartalnov.
“At one point it even seemed we’d never get a result,” - SKA head coach Barry Smith.
“At first, the guys couldn’t get their game going, they didn’t have enough passion,” - Ak Bars head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov.
“At the start we were a total flop, disgraceful play, - Lada acting head coach Sergei Svetlov.
Alexei Shevchenko, khl.ru