Evgeny Kuznetsov got his first goal of an injury-hit season to help Traktor to a shoot-out win at Avangard. However, his opening goal after six minutes of a 1-1 tie in Omsk had more than a small element of fortune about it, flying into the net off the skate of defenseman Nikita Pivtsakin as Kuznetsov tried to find Jan Bulis on the slot.
Good fortune has been conspicuously lacking for Avangard all season and the Siberians once again had to try to recover a losing cause. Alexander Popov leveled the scores early in the second, but Kuznetsov was not to be denied: come the shoot-out, he was the only player to find the target and give Traktor the win.
Magnitka grabs win at Barys
Metallurg Magnitogorsk edged a narrow verdict over Barys in the clash of the day in the Eastern Conference. Chris Lee’s slap-shot on a 4-on-3 powerplay early in the third proved to be enough to give Magnitka a 2-1 win in Kazakhstan, closing his team to within one point of third-placed Salavat Yulaev.
Although the game pitted the KHL’s three most productive point-scorers against the competition’s highest scoring team, chances were at a premium. Magnitka’s productive top line added to its impressive numbers on 18:00 as Jan Kovar scored off a Sergei Mozyakin assist, but within 45 seconds Brandon Bochenski tied it up for Barys. And it stayed level until the 42nd minute when Lee let rip to take the points back to the Urals.
Mixed fortunes for Western leaders
There were contrasting fortunes for the Western Conference leaders on Saturday, with Dynamo Moscow picking up a comfortable – if bruising – home win while SKA was pushed all the way by Dinamo Riga before Viktor Tikhonov secured a shoot-out win.
Dynamo overpowered Sibir with four unanswered goals in the first 24 minutes: in-form Martins Karsums picked up 1+1, as did Leo Komarov and Denis Mosalyov, while Alexei Sopin got the fourth. After that, the game degenerated into a niggly contest: the teams collected 36 penalty minutes between them in the space of 10 second-period minutes, 11 of them going to Sibir’s Kristian Kudroc. He capped his combative display by getting involved in a brawl on 33:02 which saw him and three others sin-binned for fighting. After that the teams traded one further goal apiece as Dynamo won it 5-1.
Meanwhile in St. Petersburg Ilya Kovalchuk’s first-minute goal gave SKA a perfect start, and when Tony Martensson extended that lead it seemed that the league leader would maintain its powerful progress. But Dinamo, up to third in the West this season, is no pushover. Andris Dzerins pulled one back before the first interval, two goals from Miks Indrasis – the second on 57:31 – put the Latvians on the brink of victory in regulation time. But Tikhonov saved SKA with 49 seconds left, catching Jakub Sedlacek by surprise to tie it at 3-3 and set up the shoot-out where he won the game.
Admiral’s capital progress
Admiral made its first visit to Moscow and picked up a 3-1 win over Spartak. The Vladivostok team had the better of the opening stages but had to wait until the 34th minute until Niclas Bergfors opened the scoring. Leading scorer Enver Lisin led a breakaway in the third period and his backhand pass gave Andrei Nikitenko a straightforward finish.
Around the league
Avtomobilist halted Salavat Yulaev’s five-game winning run, clawing back a 1-3 deficit to claim a 7-4 success. Alexei Simakov scored twice to cancel out that early Salavat advantage, and after the midway mark the home side got in front. Tobias Viklund’s goal early in the third turned out to be the game-winner.
Lokomotiv suffered penalty trouble at home to Lev, giving up two powerplay goals to the Czech visitor. Marc-Andre Gragnani and Patrik Zackrisson benefited, while goalie Petri Vehanen faced just 17 shots for his shut-out.
Severstal picked up a 2-0 win at home to basement club Slovan. Nikolai Kazakovtsev opened the scoring after 79 seconds, and Alexander Bumagin doubled the advantage in the second period. Jakub Stepanek turned away 29 shots.
Neftekhimik found its scoring touch in a 6-3 win at Ugra. Bogdan Yakimov led the way with two goals.
Goalies were on top in Podolsk where Vityaz and Metallurg Novokuznetsk failed to score in regulation. Finally Logan Pyett gave Vityaz an overtime win, beating Ilya Sorokin at the 34th attempt. Ivan Lisutin made 32 stops at the other end.