Ak Bars attacker Alexander Stepanov has 146 games in the KHL under his belt, but today was the first time he scored a double. It is a rare event for Alexander to take two points from a game; indeed, it has only happened three times, and the most recent was over two years ago. In contrast, four players in the current championship can already boast five doubles, among them Stepanov’s teammate, Danis Zaripov.
Severstal’s late win against visitors Metallurg Magnitogorsk was the eighth overtime of the campaign for the Cherepovets men but only their second win, against four defeats. And such an apparent lack of stamina is nothing new: in the whole of last season they enjoyed only two successes during the extra five minutes (despite having 13 attempts) and just one the previous year.
No such worries for Avangard. The Omsk men are the season’s undisputed leaders in overtime, and today’s triumph over Ak Bars was their ninth. Three teams in the League have still not won in overtime, while Salavat Yulaev have yet to lose.
Traktor’s win over SKA in Saint Petersburg was only the second regulation time win on the road for the Chelyabinsk men, with Neftekhimik being their other victim. It already seems certain that this will be their worst KHL season on this score: back in the first championship, they took three points on their travels on ten occasions, and did it eight times the following season. Historically, Traktor have never been the most dangerous visitors: if we look at the standings for points earned away from home, they occupy 20th place this season, 15th place for the previous campaign, and 17th for the year before.
Figure of the day
18 seconds was all Severstal needed to kill off Metallurg Magnitogorsk in overtime. It is the fastest golden goal of the season, but not a KHL record. That came in the first championship, when Vityaz scored just 6 seconds into overtime.
Travis Scott (Traktor). Saved 26 shots, allowing his team to claim 3 points in Saint Petersburg.
Denis Kulyash (Avangard). Spent over 23 minutes on the ice, scored one goal, set up another, and with six shots was the most active of any defenseman.
Maxim Berezin (Neftekhimik). Scored his first goal in the KHL and was rated the most valuable defender in the team, earning a +1.
Josef Straka (Severstal). Had three shots, scored two goals and added an assist.
Mikhail Varnakov (Torpedo). Had just two shots at goal, but both them found the target.
Artem Bulyansky (Yugra). Scored a double, which included the game-winner, made one assist and finished at a +2.
Quotes of the day
“In the play-offs, Avangard is the opponent we’d prefer most of all,” Neftekhimik head coach Vladimir Krikunov.
“We’ve been especially bad at playing 5-on-3, and today’s game was especially problematic in that regard,” SKA head coach Vaclav Sykora.
“We’ve played every other day since the third of January, and in the end, when we’ve needed to score to seal a win, the guys have simply run out of gas,” Barys head coach Andrei Khomutov.
“We’ve had 11 games in 23 days, and it’s mainly the same group of players that take the burden,” Avtomobilist head coach Evgeny Mukhin.
Alexei Shevchenko, special to khl.ru