Happy on their travels
Yugra is not the first team to register three straight away wins in the current championship, indeed it has been achieved by seven other outfits, but only three of these - Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Dynamo Moscow and Ak Bars – won all three in regulation time, and now Yugra joins this select band. And as the KHL’s new boys allowed just one goal during their treble of wins, they can claim their achievement is the best of them all.
The Magnitogorsk men would no doubt remind us that they added a fourth victory, albeit via a shootout, and that this was against none other than Yugra in Khanty-Mansiysk.
In a week’s time Yugra can have a stab at the Steelworkers’ record, but it will not be easy: Sergei Shepelev’s team will need to beat the champions, Ak Bars, in Kazan.
Problems at home
Traktor already languish outside the play-off zone, and today for the first time in the campaign they allowed six goals on their own ice. Interestingly, while the Chelyabinsk men spent most of the previous two championships sitting comfortably in the top eight, they already had a tendency to upset their fans with porous defending, and in both seasons they contrived to concede six goals in three home games - against Lada, HC MVD and Avangard in 2008-09 and then Dinamo Minsk, Neftekhimik and Lokomotiv in 2009-10. Even worse, last season HC MVD inflicted a 7-0 thrashing on them in Chelyabinsk.
Korneyev wastes no time
Konstantin Korneyev had the puck in Avtomobilist’s net just 22 seconds into the third period, the fourth fastest goal scored in a final period this season. The quickest of all will indeed be hard to beat: Denis Grebeshkov found the target in the 12th second of the closing 20 minutes.
A glance at the twenty fastest third period goals shows that Korneyev is the third Ak Bars player to make the list, joining Alexei Morozov (16 seconds) and Jarkko Immonen (34 seconds). Three more in the top twenty play for Lokomotiv.
Figure of the day
9 shots at the Lokomotiv net from Traktor forward Evgeny Kuznetsov, and one of these found the target. It is the second time in the current championship that Kuznetsov has threatened the goal nine times, although against Atlant none of Evgeny’s efforts beat the goalie.
Mikhail Biryukov (Yugra). In the latest in a series of brilliant performances he saved 34 shots out of 35 to help his team achieve a third straight win on the road.
Roman Savchenko (Barys). Scored a goal and earned a +2.
Yury Urychev (Lokomotiv). Spent just 7 minutes and 51 seconds on the ice, but still managed to be rated the game’s most valuable player, finishing at a +3.
Zbynek Irgl (Atlant). Scored a short-handed goal in regulation time, and then sealed victory for his team in the shootout.
Roman Starchenko (Barys). Added a goal, two assists, and a +4 to his account.
Alexander Galimov (Lokomotiv). Scored a double and finished at a +2.
Quotes of the day
“In the first period, on the whole, we didn’t play badly: everyone did their job, team discipline was great, and we had our chances to score. In the second period, we obviously decided to play wide-open, non-contact hockey, and straight away we lose four goals in five minutes,” Traktor head coach Valery Belousov.
“I can’t say everything’s been working out for Fedor Fedorov. We brought him here, into the fourth line, to add a bit of aggression. Whatever’s expected of him, he does it. In every case, he tries and he plays with confidence,” Atlant head coach Milos Riha.
Alexei Shevchenko, special to khl.ru