Pavel Datsyuk became the latest NHL star to take to the ice in the KHL, making his first appearance for CSKA Moscow in a 1-0 win over Avangard Omsk. The Detroit Red Wings man, who had also been courted by his home-town club Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, draw a large crowd to Moscow’s Megasport Arena – but it was the brothers Radulov who settled a hard-fought game.
Not for the first time this season CSKA’s goal was a family affair, with Alexander Radulov’s shot from the blue line finding Igor on the slot to force the puck past the otherwise impressive Karri Ramo on 28:09.
Datsyuk himself was denied by Ramo in the first period, then saw the video official rule out an unconventional second period effort: after his initial shot looped up off a defender’s stick, Datsyuk followed through to nod the puck into the net in a manner which might have impressed watching CSKA soccer coach Leonid Slutsky but failed to delight the referee.
Both sides defended solidly throughout the game, with CSKA’s Rastislav Stana posting a 29-save shut-out for the Army Men.
Avangard, which is on a five-game losing streak, earlier announced that defenseman Nikita Nikitin has agreed a return to the club where he made 305 appearances before heading across the Atlantic.
Third time lucky for Malkin
After two narrow defeats, Evgeny Malkin finally tasted victory with Metallurg Magnitogorsk in a big win at Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk. And Magnitka’s star name had his most successful game yet, getting three assists in a 7-2 win.
Malkin set up the opening goal for fellow locked-out NHL man Nikolai Kulemin – his first in the KHL – on 2:42, but the game really got going in the second session. Justin Hodgman scored on 29:04 – his fourth point in three games – to kick-start a frenetic 80-second passage which featured three goals and a penalty. Igor Polygalov pulled one back for the home side, but Malkin soon had his second assist as Sergei Mozyakin took advantage of a powerplay. In the third period Malkin’s third assist came as Denis Platonov made it 6-2.
For Neftekhimik a second defeat in a row dampens the optimism around the club following a bright start which had seen the outsiders initially leading the Eastern Conference.
Canadian forward Erik Christensen fired in a hat-trick for Lev Prague as the Western Conference leader eased to a comfortable 4-0 win at home to Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk. Christensen struck twice in 14 seconds at the end of the first period, first converting a penalty shot after he was tripped by Ivan Lekomtsev, then doubling his team’s advantage on 18:27. He completed his treble on 26:51, with Tomas Surovy also on the mark in the second session.
Slovan beats battling Barys
Slovan Bratislava made it four wins in a row, and halted Barys Astana’s mini-revival in a fiery game in Slovakia. Most of the scoring came early, with Slovan opening up a 2-0 first period lead before Nik Antropov scored his first goal since joining Barys from Winnipeg Jets on 21:26. It took barely a minute for Slovan to reinstate its two-goal cushion, though, with Michal Vondrka scoring to add to his earlier assist.
Then the officials got busier: Brandon Bochenski was awarded a penalty shot for Barys on 32:22, but could not beat Jaroslav Janus. Within a minute five players were sin-binned with double minor penalties following a high-sticking incident involving Miroslav Satan. The bad blood continued as Antropov and Martin Stajnoch took five minute roughing penalties soon after. In the third, the teams traded further goals as Slovan closed out a 4-2 win.
Six of the best for Sibir
Sibir Novosibirsk’s winning run continued – with a 3-0 success over Severstal Cherepovets making it six wins on the spin. Goaltender Jeff Glass posted 41 saves, while Jori Lehtera further extended his points haul with an assist on Sibir’s second goal, scored by Kristian Kudroc on 4:22 after Arturs Kulda, the league’s top goal-scoring defenseman, had opened the scoring on two minutes.
Small is beautiful for Traktor
Three short-handed goals in one game saw Traktor Chelyabinsk win 4-1 at Salavat Yulaev Ufa – but ironically the game winner came on a powerplay. Jan Bulis got that one on 43:14; Evgeny Kuznetsov posted 1+2 in the game and Alexander Pankov scored Salavat’s solitary goal with the teams at equal strength.
Around the league
Denis Abdullin enjoyed a happy reunion with his former Avtomobilist team-mates, with two goals and two assists to help Ak Bars to a 6-1 win in Kazan.
Filip Metlyuk scored twice for Metallurg Novokuznetsk in a 5-4 win against Dinamo Minsk. For the Belarusians, that’s four defeats in a row.
Jakub Petruzalek struck twice, including the game-winner on 57:46, as Amur Khabarovsk sank Vityaz Chekhov 3-2 in the Far East.