The top two in the Western Conference were far from having it all their own way on Monday: Dynamo went down at home to Moscow rivals Spartak, while SKA struggled to overcome Dinamo Riga in St. Petersburg.
Spartak’s triumphal march
The battle for bragging rights in the capital is going Spartak’s way: the Red-and-Whites followed up their shoot-out success over CSKA with an impressive 4-1 win against Dynamo at Megasport.
Spartak took the lead on 14:24 when Alexander Yunkov reacted first after a Josef Strumpel slap shot rebounded off the boards. That proved to be the turning point of the game: up to then Dynamo had been dominant, but subsequently Spartak began to exert more influence in the middle zone and tightened the screws on the hosts.
Dynamo goalie Alexei Volkov was beaten again on 29:53 after Mikhail Zhukov’s shot proved too hot to handle and Stefan Ruzicka was on hand to poke home the loose puck. After surviving a penalty against Anatoly Nikontsev, the Red-and-Whites struck a third on 38:30 when Marcel Hossa tapped in after an under-fire Volkov gave up another rebound while his team was short-handed. It was little surprise that Alexander Yeryomenko was sent out in place of Volkov for the final period, but that change could do little to affect the outcome as Yegor Mikhailov added one more to Spartak’s tally before Yury Babenko pulled one back on 51:26.
Petersburg prevails on shoot-out
In Petersburg the game went all the way after a 1-1 draw, with Fyodor Fyodorov giving SKA the win. But the hosts had to work hard for their success after going behind on 11:05 when Janis Sprukts converted a pass from the ever-reliable Mikelis Redlihs. SKA leveled on 28:23 when Igor Makarov was sent clear by Gleb Klimenko and took his chance to beat Chris Holt in the Riga goal. A scoreless third period led to overtime. Fredrik Warg went close for Dinamo before Petr Prucha almost won it for SKA in the last seconds, but it took a shoot-out to separate the teams.