4hrs 12min

11 March 2010, 23:00

Result of the day
Ak Bars - Barys 4-3 OT. There has long been a need to dispense with the shoot-out as a way of determining the winners of a play-off games. Of course, for television it is far from being the ideal method. Imagine if one of the national channels, with their strict program schedules, had broadcast this match from Kazan. Whoever could have imagined it would stretch to 4 hours 12 minutes? All of the producers would have gone gray.

Taking part in a four-hour show also makes it a tough schedule for the players. Only twenty hours later it will again be time to step out onto the ice and once again do battle. The guests will surely be highly motivated, having somehow contrived to lose after leading 3-0 during the game, and there is the big question of whether the Kazan men still have enough stamina. The team’s leaders only recently returned from Vancouver, and we can only guess at the effect this has had on the pair. Only the players themselves can know what they felt as the 100th minute of play passed. Did they even have the energy to make it to the bench? And was there still the desire to go out onto the ice when called to action by the coach?

This is the second time Ak Bars have fought back to win a play-off game after being 0-3 down. They achieved this feat last season during the final series with Lokomotiv, and now this year it is Barys who could not hold on to their advantage.

Still no joy
Traktor’s defeat was their seventh consecutive loss in the play-off stage. The club’s unfortunate run began way back in season 2007-08, straight after their return to the elite, and since then the men from the Urals have been beaten in both opening series without once tasting victory. Theirs is the worst run of results of any of the clubs taking part in this year’s play-offs.

Dynamo fire blanks
We have to go back almost a full year, to the 25th March, to find the last occasion when Dynamo Moscow failed to score in an entire game, as they suffered a 0-3 defeat in their fifth match against Ak Bars. Interestingly, in that series the Blue-and-Whites also lost a game by a 0-1 scoreline.

Serial successes
Several hockey players have taken points from two straight games, but only Riga’s Martin Kariya and Yaroslavl’s Zbynek Irgl have scored in both matches in this year’s Gagarin Cup. Moreover, in the first match, the Dinamo man scored into an empty net.

Historic victory
It is the first time in Russian championship history that Spartak have won a play-off game while keeping a clean sheet. Up until now, the Red-and-Whites had always conceded, and indeed this is the first time in all this season that their defense has played the perfect game.

Fokin the first
Traktor goaltender Vladislav Fokin has become the first keeper in the current play-offs to be handed a two-minute penalty.

Figures of the day
45 shots by the Salavat Yulaev and Atlant players against Avtomobilist and Lokomotiv respectively.

9 shots at goal by Traktor forward Evgeny Skachkov.

50 minutes 47 seconds spent in play by Barys defenseman Tomas Kloucek.

80% of 15 face-offs won by Metallurg Magnitogorsk attacker Petri Kontiola.

Key players
Ivan Kasutin (Neftekhimik). Saved all 19 shots in the game.

Miroslav Blatak (Salavat Yulaev). Scored the winning goal and made the assist for another.

Vadim Khomitsky (Atlant). His goal secured victory for his team in overtime.

Martin Kariya (Dinamo Riga). Scored the game-winner and supplied the decisive passes for the other two goals.

Evgeny Lapenkov (Spartak). Scored the only goal of the game against Moscow Dynamo.

Niko Kapanen (Ak Bars). Brought victory to his team after fours hours of play.

Alexei Shevchenko,

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