Three of Sunday’s games turned out to be so close that neither regulation time nor overtime could separate the teams. The army men from Petersburg have now celebrated their fifth shoot-out victory, set against just one defeat. Dinamo Riga’s win in Belarus means the Latvians’ record is now 3-1 in their favor, and Yugra also claimed their third shoot-out success, although they have suffered four defeats. Two clubs, Severstal and Traktor, have yet to play in a single shoot-out this season. Six teams have not yet won a shoot-out, while four are still unbeaten.
Couldn’t hold on
It is the first time this season that Ak Bars lost after being two goals ahead. The men from Kazan had built such a lead in four previous games and comfortably held on for victory in all of them. So far, the KHL’s ‘leader’ for wasting a two-goal lead is SKA, having done so on three occasions, while today’s win was the first time Yugra had achieved such a battling victory. The KHL’s comeback kings are CSKA, whose players have twice fought back to win from two goals down, whereas for Vityaz and Barys a two goal deficit has been fatal - both have lost seven out of seven. Barys had a great chance to improve their record today, having fought back from 0-3 to level the scores, but then they allowed Neftekhimik to score two more.
Avangard’s Jaromir Jagr scored just 30 seconds into overtime against Avtomobilist and so equaled the record for the fastest overtime goal of the season, matching the exploits of Dinamo Minsk’s Sergei Demagin against Ak Bars and Torpedo’s Ryan Vesce against Spartak. The KHL record, however, belongs to Vityaz, whose game against Khimik in the first KHL championship was just six seconds into overtime when Pavel Boychenko’s shot found the net. Altogether, five games this season have finished in the first minute of overtime.
Figure of the day
Spartak’s new head coach Igor Pavlov achieved his first win today in his seventh game in charge – the worst start of any of the current season’s new coaches. Victory came to Sergei Svetlov at Amur and Andrei Nazarov at Vityaz in their fourth games, while Traktor’s Valeri Belousov won his third at the helm and SKA’s Vaclav Sykora tasted success in his second. As for Avtomobilist’s Evgeny Mukhin and Atlant’s Milos Riha, they both began their new careers with a victory.
Mikhail Biryukov (Yugra). Saved 33 shots and was unbeaten in the shoot-out.
Denis Denisov (SKA). Scored a double, earned a rating of +1, and hit four shots at goal.
Evgeny Ryasensky (Neftekhimik). Scored no points, but was the highest rated defender of the day, meriting a +3.
Maxim Pestushko (Neftekhimik). Struck three shots at goal, made three assists, and finished at a +3.
Jaromir Jagr (Avangard). In just over 21 minutes on the ice he had five shots at the target and scored the killer goal in overtime.
Lauris Darzins (Dinamo Riga). The most active of the forwards: had five shots, scored once in regulation time and scored again to clinch victory in the shoot-out.
Quotes of the day
“We are in third place, and this game was dead even, which shows that Avtomobilist’s hockey was at the league leaders’ level. It is a well-trained, highly-disciplined team,” Avangard head coach Raimo Summanen.
“Before today’s game, when we had to announce the team, Belov was unexpectedly taken ill. And when we arrived for the game, we also lost Krysanov, our center, through sickness, so we had to rearrange the whole team,” Neftekhimik head coach Vladimir Krikunov.
“Despite losing the shoot-out, I’m grateful to the guys for clawing their way back into the game from 1-3,” Dynamo Moscow head coach Oleg Znarok.
Alexei Shevchenko, special to khl.ru