Result of the day
Vityaz - Sibir 5-2. A lot has changed in the past two years. Only a couple of seasons back, before a game like this, you would hear rumors: they will give up, they have nothing to play for, they have done a deal etc. The first KHL championship laid all that to rest, and now it is unthinkable that the Chekhov men would be dreaming of their coming vacation in this clash against Sibir. The Vityaz players proved that success comes to those who battle right to the end. Even after going two goals down they kept going and ruthlessly hit back, pressuring the Siberians and earning a highly professional victory. And when they could have taken the foot off the gas they instead started a brawl, giving great entertainment for those deserving fans who unexpectedly packed the stadium - and for a game which meant nothing to their club’s fortunes.
In stark contrast, the Novosibirsk side were surprisingly poor. All they needed was to hold on for 60 minutes and avoid a regulation time defeat, but they collapsed like a house of cards at the end of the second period, conceding three goals in under two minutes. What was hard to fathom was the lack of any serious effort at putting things right. Before our eyes, ‘all for one and one for all’ quickly became ‘every man for himself.’ The reaction to conceding those three goals, knowing that Avtomobilist were winning, was one of pure desperation. Their helpless, lifeless expressions suggested they would have gone nowhere in the play-offs.
Mozyakin the main man
Atlant attacker Sergei Mozyakin (pictured), with his assist against Metallurg Magnitogorsk, has won the battle to be KHL top scorer, with 27 goals and 39 assists from 56 games and an average of over a point per game. It is the second year running that Mozyakin is the highest scoring player, although he is short of last year’s total of 76 points.
Traktor have set an unwanted club record in the KHL by losing five in a row. In this spell they have conceded 24 goals and scored only 11 in reply. We should note, however, that four of these five were away from home, and also note that last season Andrei Nazarov’s team endured seven straight defeats, although during that run they at least managed to earn two points.
Third perfect game
CSKA Moscow goaltender Konstantin Barulin has claimed his third clean sheet of the season, setting a personal record for perfect games at the top level. He had never managed more than two unbeaten matches in any season in the superleague.
Torpedo’s Czech forward Pavel Brendl has struck his seventh double of the current championship. Interestingly, his seventh was also his slowest, with his two goals coming 49 minutes 16 seconds apart. Brendl’s fastest brace came against HC MVD, when he needed only 6 minutes and 14 seconds.
Verot tops the bad boys’ table
Darsy Verot has snatched the title of most punished player from his teammate Chris Simon, having collected 374 minutes of penalties in 34 matches, and he has now spent an average of 11 minutes per game on the bench. However, two seasons ago Darsy was an even more persistent offender, earning 508 minutes in 43 appearances.
Riga’s first collapse
For the first time this season, Dinamo Riga have lost a game after scoring the first three goals. On the eight previous occasions the Latvians had held on for victory. In contrast, it is the second time Salavat Yulaev have performed such heroics, out of the seven games in which they have experienced a nightmare start. Nevertheless, the best team in the KHL on this score is none other than Dinamo Riga, who have under their belt three successful fightbacks from three down.
Early lead lost
It is the fifth time this season that Avangard have lost after opening the scoring. Despite this, the Siberians are still the fourth most reliable team when it comes to holding on to the early advantage, bettered only by Salavat Yulaev, Metallurg Magnitogorsk and SKA. For Dinamo Minsk it was only the second time in the current tournament they have won a match after conceding the first goal.
Most dangerous when outnumbered
Peter Podhradsky’s short-handed goal was the eighth Barys have scored this season, moving the men from Kazakhstan up to equal second place alongside Spartak and Sibir. The deadliest of all for the season are Dynamo Moscow with nine short-handed goals.
Vehanen the most reliable
Ak Bars goaltender Petri Vehanen took no part in the game against Lokomotiv, and perhaps this helped him secure the title of the KHL’s best keeper by reliability co-efficient, with an impressive 1.73. On top of this, Petri saved 93.5% of all shots and brought his team victory in 15 of the 20 games in which he kept goal.
First overtime success
HC MVD have at last achieved their first overtime victory of the season. On the nine previous occasions when they played the extra five minutes, four resulted in defeat and five progressed to the shoot-out. This win means Lada are now one of only two teams without an overtime win this season, with the other unlucky side being Traktor.
Neftekhimik attacker Yaroslav Alshevsky certainly enjoyed his first taste of the KHL. The youngster, who does not turn 19 until May, scored a goal and set up one more during his 10 minutes 32 seconds out on the ice.
Figures of the day
48 shots at the Ak Bars goal from the Lokomotiv players.
24 minutes 45 seconds spent in play by SKA defenseman Sergei Zubov.
87.5% of 16 face-offs won by Avanguard attacker Eric Perrin.
10 shots at goal by Torpedo attacker Pavel Brendl.
Konstantin Barulin (CSKA). Saved all 22 shots.
Maxim Chudinov (Severstal). Scored the winning goal and finished with an efficiency rating of +1.
Andrei Kolesnikov (Vityaz). Scored a goal, made an assist, and earned a +2.
Nikolai Bushuev (Avtomobilist). Struck the decisive goal which propelled his team into the play-offs.
Patrick Thoresen (Salavat Yulaev). Added a goal and an assist to his account, and moreover scored his fourth game-winner in a row.
Oleg Antonenko (Dinamo Minsk). Took part in all three of his team’s successful attacking moves, claiming two goals and an assist.
“Severstal showed us how we will need to play in the play-offs,” - Traktor head coach Andrei Nazarov.
“Every player who went out there today wanted with all his heart to cheer the fans,” - Torpedo head coach Evgeny Popikhin.
“It would have been naïve to expect us to grab any points today,” - Metallurg Novokuznetsk head coach Dmitry Parkhomenko.
“We conceded two goals from defensive errors, although it was defense we planned to focus on,” - Spartak Moscow head coach Milos Riha.
“We will still take some positive feelings into next season,” - Dinamo Minsk head coach Alexander Andrievsky.
Alexei Shevchenko, khl.ru