Change at the top
The top two teams in the Eastern Conference, Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Salavat Yulaev, went face to face today. The hosts, second place in the standings before the game, outplayed the visitors in every department, and have now triumphed in their last four outings by a combined score of 19-1.

Metallurg were already ahead 4-0 by the end of the second period, whereas the best the Ufa men could manage was a consolation goal a minute before the final siren, and so once again the men from Magnitogorsk find themselves leading the Eastern Conference.

Five against three
CSKA allowed Sibir to kill a two-man penalty today, despite the army men being 5-on-3 for almost two minutes. In the current championship, Sergei Nemchinov’s team has scored only three times while enjoying a double man advantage. We should note, however, that today CSKA were up against an experienced opponent: the Novosibirsk side have been 3-on-5 twelve times this season, and have only been punished once. Only Avangard and Yugra have better records, having not allowed a single goal in nine and twelve instances respectively.

A similar chance was presented to the men from Minsk against Amur, but they made no mistake. The Belarus club has a quite respectable success rate, 5 from 15. The Kazan men are the best at playing 5-on-3 so far, with 6 goals from 12 attempts. Amazingly, with the season already past the halfway mark, there are still two teams who are yet to take advantage of a 5-on-3: Atlant have spurned 13 chances, and Spartak have wasted 16.

First penalty
It is the first time this season that Sergei Gayduchenko was handed what for goaltenders is usually a common penalty – throwing the puck out of play. Goalies have in general been rarely punished by officials during the current campaign, with none at all as yet receiving more than two minutes in a game. The most ill-disciplined to date is last season’s “leader” Georgy Gelashvili, with a total of eight minutes, and there are six more goalies sharing second place with six minutes apiece.

In comparison, in the first KHL championship three goaltenders passed the 30-minute mark, with the worst offender being Robert Esche who notched up 54 minutes of penalties. The penalty minutes piled up even higher in the second championship, with five goalies breaking the 30-minute barrier and Gelashvili amassing 78 minutes.

Figure of the day
5 shots was all the Amur players needed to score four goals past Robert Esche, leaving the hapless goalie with a figure of 20% - the worst save percentage from Robert in all his time in the KHL. His previous worst was in Chelyabinsk back in the first championship, when Esche allowed four goals from seven shots, giving him figures of 42.9%

Key players
Georgy Gelashvili (Metallurg Magnitogorsk). Blunted the formidable Ufa attack with 34 saves, helping his team return to the top of the Conference.

Sergei Peretyagin (Amur). Scored a goal, made an assist, and merited a rating of +3.

Kristaps Sotnieks (Dinamo Riga). Earned a rating of +2 and scored the game-winner.

Radik Zakiyev (Amur). Struck a double, including the winning goal, added an assist and finished at a +3.

Igor Mirnov (Sibir). Scored one goal and set up two others.

Lauris Darzins (Dinamo Riga). Continues to extend the club record for taking points in every game, this time with a goal and an assist.

Quotes of the day
“Also, Robert Esche was a little unlucky today, having allowed four goals after five shots,” Dinamo Minsk head coach Marek Sykora.

“Our movement wasn’t too good, although after the score became 1-4 we played much better, and in the end we closed the gap to a minimum,” CSKA head coach Sergei Nemchinov.

“We chose in advance which goalie would play in which game, and we decided to keep to this tactic even taking into account the fact that Ersberg didn’t feel too great today,” Salavat Yulaev head coach Vyacheslav Bykov.

“What can I say? Stupid mistakes, wasted power plays … Naturally, I’m not happy,” Ak Bars head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov.

Alexei Shevchenko, special to

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