Evgeny Malkin is still waiting to taste victory on his return to Russia after a shoot-out loss in Kazan followed Magnitka’s overtime loss in Ufa on Thursday. Malkin failed to beat Konstantin Barulin in the shoot-out, drifting right then cutting across goal only to fire wide, and that gave Alexei Morozov the chance to win it for Ak Bars.
In regulation time of a fast-paced, open encounter, Malkin again claimed an assist on Metallurg’s equalizer in the first period: this time he wrestled the puck free on the slot after a Sergei Gonchar shot from point, and Justin Hodgman tapped it in. That cancelled out Dmitry Obukhov’s opener, poking home the loose puck after Ari Ahonen spilled a Konstantin Korneyev blue-liner.
That was all the scoring, but hardly all the action, with both goaltenders kept busy and Ilya Nikulin earning great applause for his efforts at stifling Malkin’s opportunities. Possession was fairly even, but Ahonen was perhaps the goalie facing the more challenging evening.
Thus it took a shoot-out to separate the two sides after a 1-1 tie – the second time in two games that Malkin had been called upon to put in an extra shift. He came close to winning it with a back-hander in the first minute of extras, and had a further shot on target in the last seconds, while in between an Alexei Morozov run on goal almost undid Ahonen’s defenses.
Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk’s surprise start to the season had seen it lead the Eastern Conference – but the visit of Traktor Chelyabinsk snapped the Tatar team’s winning streak. The damage was done early: with barely 10 minutes on the clock Stanislav Chistov and Maxim Karpov had made it 2-0 to the away team. Neftekhimik pulled one back thanks to Oskar Osala on 54:41, but Andrei Kostitsyn got his first since returning from Nashville Predators to wrap up a 3-1 win for Traktor.
Stars wait at CSKA
CSKA Moscow confirmed the arrival of Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Bryzgalov – but head coach Valery Bragin was in no hurry to get his new men on to the ice against Yugra Khanty Mansisyk. And, after a momentary wobble, the old guard delivered the win, seeing off Yugra 4-2. The Radulov brothers were both on the scoresheet: Alexander cancelled out Igor Skorkhodov’s opener before Igor put CSKA ahead early in the second. Then Janis Sprukts got his first for the club to make it 3-1 before Alexander Radulov’s second of the evening.
Lehtera leads the way
Sibir Novosibirsk made it five wins in a row – and the league’s leading pointscorer Jori Lehtera added another 1+1 to take his personal tally to 14 in a 2-1 win over Dinamo Minsk. The Finn scored the opener and set up Nikita Zaitsev to make it 2-0 in the 30th minute. The Siberian side, which missed out on last season’s play-offs, has impressed at the start of the current campaign, and handed a third successive defeat to the Belarusians, whose head coach Kari Heikkila has already admitted things are tough for his team at the moment. Geoff Platt got the consolation strike for Dinamo.
Lev loses out
Jakub Voracek was on the scoresheet, but Lev Prague went down 2-4 at home to Barys Astana. The visitors had a Brandon Bochenski double to thank as Barys opened up a convincing advantage in the first period. Voracek scored early in the second to make it 2-3, but hopes of a fightback were thwarted by Nigel Dawes on 36:07.
Slovan success continues
Slovan Bratislava made it three wins in a row – and condemned Avangard Omsk to a fourth consecutive defeat. Lubomir Visnovsky had a goal-scoring debut for the Slovak side, helping to open up a 3-0 lead before the half-way mark. Tomas Zaborsky and Alexander Popov pulled it back to 3-2, but Libor Hudacek made it four in the 51st minute as Slovan eased to a 4-2 win.
Salavat Yulaev made it three wins from three with a 2-1 success at home to Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. All the scoring came early, with Andrei Kuteikin and Vitaly Proshkin scoring on either side of Rastislav Spirko’s effort for the visitors.
Evgeny Timkin scored twice for Vityaz Chekhov in its 3-0 win at Metallurg Novokuznetsk. All the goals came in the first period, with Timkin opening the scoring on 57 seconds as his team snapped a five game losing streak. Ivan Kasutin made 54 saves for the shut-out.