Riga’s hat-tricks
Lauris Darzins is the 18th player this season to score three times in one game, and the Dinamo Riga attacker needed just 32 minutes 14 seconds to hit his treble – the 7th fastest of the campaign. Lauris is in the third year of his KHL career and has broken all his personal records. He now boasts 37 points (19+18) for the season, with all three figures being his best to date. Darzins will still need to push himself, however, to break the club records: the most goals scored by a Riga man in a KHL season was 35, from Marcel Hossa, and the record for assists belongs to Janis Sprukts with 25. Darzins is only the second Dinamo player to score a hat-trick in the KHL, after Alexanders Nizivijs in the previous championship.

Chekhov’s heroes
Vityaz fought back to conquer Dynamo Moscow despite allowing the first two goals – the second time this season the bottom team has achieved this. To add to this, the Chekhov men have rescued two more games in which they trailed by a two-goal margin. In the current championship only two teams, Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Neftekhimik, have still not bounced back to win from a 0-2 deficit. Curiously, Neftekhimik is also one of only three teams that has not yet lost after scoring the opening two goals of a match, the other two being Avangard and Dinamo Riga. As for Dynamo Moscow, today’s collapse after being two goals up was their third of the current championship.

CSKA’s 5-on-3
CSKA’s players enjoyed a spell of almost four minutes playing with a 5-on-3 advantage, but could not breach the SKA defense. We should note that the Moscow army men have never been strong in this department. In the first KHL championship they found themselves 5-on-3 no less than 32 times but scored only twice. Things were not much better the following season: 4 goals in 33 attempts, compared with Spartak’s best-of-season total of 13 goals - also from 33 attempts. Strange that in this their most troubled season, the CSKA have their best statistic yet on this count: 23 times the army men have had the two-man advantage, and scored five times. Incidentally, neither Avangard nor Yugra have conceded a single goal this season while playing 3-on-5.

Figure of the day
35 players have now appeared for Dynamo Moscow this season, after two new signings made their debuts against Vityaz today. Last year, the Muscovite Blue-and-Whites used 34 players, and 37 in the first championship.

Key players
Jakub Stepanek (SKA). Saved 20 shots to help his team to yet another victory.

Andrei Kolesnikov (Vityaz). Spent nearly 21 minutes on the ice, scored no points but earned a rating of +2.

Denis Makarov (Spartak). Was on the ice for just under 22 minutes, provided the decisive pass for a goal and also finished at a +2.

Chris Simon (Vityaz). After an assist in regulation time he scored the game-deciding shot in the shootout, in a performance which merited a +3.

Sergei Brylin (SKA). Threatened the goal three times, scored once, and won 6 out of 12 face-offs.

Mikelis Redlihs (Dinamo Riga). Added two assists and a +3 to his account.

Quote of the day
“For me, there’s no concept of ‘qualification’ or ‘non-qualification’ for the play-offs. It is our job to please our fans by playing good hockey. If we don’t make the play-offs, we just have to play our hockey and win as many games as we can,” Vityaz head coach Andrei Nazarov.

Alexei Shevchenko, special to khl.ru

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