Friday saw important away wins for Ak Bars Kazan and Salavat Yulaev Ufa, along with success on home ice for Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Avangard Omsk. With Traktor Chelyabinsk holding on to top spot, it all adds up to a reminder that the KHL's Eastern Conference is not to be taken lightly.
Salavat Yulaev traveled to Atlant Moscow Region for a repeat of last year's Gagarin Cup final - and skated to a 5-1 win. Janne Niskala put the hosts in front on 15:10, but that lead lasted just 34 seconds before Oleg Saprykin tied the game. Alexander Svitov got the crucial go-ahead goal at the end of the second period, and after that it was plain sailing for the visitors. Atlant's recent 10-game winning streak already seems like a distant memory.
Morozov's the main man
Alexei Morozov blasted a hat-trick as Ak Bars won 4-1 at SKA St. Petersburg. The hosts, smarting from a midweek overtime loss to Salavat, struggled to make an impact after Morozov opened the scoring on 19:04. By the end of the second period it was 4-0, with Evgeny Medvedev joining his skipper on the scoresheet. Maxim Rybin's late goal was little consolation for SKA.
Khlystov makes the difference
Dinamo Minsk has been going well in the West, but could not get the verdict against Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Two goals from Denis Khlystov - the second, decisive one, while his team was shorthanded - gave Magnitka a 3-2 victory. Jere Karalahti still had time to pull back a late goal for the Belarusians but could not force overtime.
Ivanov settles it
Alexander Perezhogin scored twice, but it was Andrei Ivanov who got Avangard's winner in a 3-2 success at home to CSKA. Perezhogin put his team 2-0 up, but Alexei Badyukov and Denis Parshin tied the game before Ivanov's decisive intervention.
Top against bottom
Traktor Chelyabinsk battled to a 2-1 win at basement club Avtomobilist to remain on top of the KHL table. Deron Quint got the winner on 48:49 after Anton Burdasov cancelled out Avto's opener from Daniel Nasybullin.
Around the league
Yugra Khanty Mansiysk beat Lev Poprad 4-2 after a spirited fightback from the visitors fell short. Vaclav Nedorost and Lubos Bartecko pulled the game back to 3-2, but an empty net goal from Ivan Khlyntsev ended Lev's hopes.