(5) Salavat Yulaev Ufa 2
(4) Ak Bars Kazan 3
Ak Bars win the series 4-2
Last season’s Gagarin Cup winner Salavat Yulaev has sensationally been knocked out of the 2012 play-offs in the first stage. A 3-2 win for Ak Bars Kazan in Ufa has ended Salavat’s reign, and sees the winner of the inaugural KHL title continue its quest for a third crown in four seasons.
Konstantin Korneyev got the all-important goal on 48:10, clinching a 4-2 series success with a powerful effort from the blue line and avenging his team’s defeat to the same opponent a year earlier.
The game had started with Ak Bars opening up a 2-0 lead inside the first 10 minutes, only for Antti Pihlstrom and Andrei Taratukhin to tie the game in the second period. But Korneyev’s strike proved decisive in a series which produced just one home win in six games.
Down to the wire
(6) Barys Astana 3
(3) Metallurg Magnitogorsk 4 OT
Series tied 3-3
The series between Barys Astana and Metallurg Magnitogorsk will go to a game seven decider after Magnitka pulled off a second successive overtime victory to frustrate the Kazakhs.
Sergei Mozyakin got his third play-off goal of the season on 61:54, keeping Magnitka in a series where it had trailed 3-1 after the first games in Astana.
Friday’s visit to the Kazakh capital was a happier one for Metallurg, despite a slow start which saw Barys open up a 2-0 lead thanks to Talgat Zhailauov and Andrew Hutchinson before Pavel Zdunov reduced the deficit on 15:40.
Maxim Sushinsky tied the game with a penalty shot after he was tripped by Alexei Litvinenko, and Anton But thought he’d won it in regulation time when he put Magnitka 3-2 up on 54:59. But although it took barely a minute for Barys to hit back and force the extra session, the hosts could not end the series at this attempt and now we face a winner-takes-all decider on Sunday.