Vasily Koshechkin’s fifth shut out of the season helped Metallurg Magnitogorsk to a 2-0 victory in the big game of the day in St. Petersburg.
He pulled off 32 saves to deny SKA on home ice, and perhaps the finest of them all came late in the second period to stop Ilya Kovalchuk. It seemed that Kovi had forced the puck beyond the goalie, but Koshechkin swept his glove out behind him to block what seemed to be a certain goal.
Things got worse for SKA almost immediately after that miss as Chris Lee gave Magnitka the lead on 37:37. The home side continued to have most of the play, but could not find a goal, and with less than 10 minutes to play Lee whipped the puck across the goal area where Tim Brent was on hand to turn it in.
Goal crazy in Zagreb
It was a bad night to be late to the game in Zagreb as Medvescak and Ak Bars traded four goals in the first four minutes – and the scoring didn’t let up from then as the Croatian team skated to a thrilling 6-5 win.
Patrick Bjorkstrand led the way with two for the hosts, who raced into a 3-1 lead and stretched the advantage further through Hugh Jessiman on 7:12. Ak Bars clawed it back to 3-4 when Mikhail Varnakov got his second of the night a minute before Alexander Osipov found the net towards the end of the first session.
After all those goals the third period was a strangely restrained affair, with Kirill Petrov’s marker for Ak Bars on 45:06 concluding the scoring for the night. The visitor kept pressing to the last, determined to maintain its top spot in the Eastern Conference, but at last the crowd saw some resolute defense as Medvescak held on.
Loko back on track
Salavat Yulaev slipped to fourth in the East after a 4-2 defeat at Lokomotiv, which strengthens its grip on a play-off place in the West.
The home team set up a decisive advantage early on, thanks to goals from Yury Petrov and Yegor Averin, after which it was the turn of the defense to confirm it had recovered from the shock of giving up five goals to struggling Slovan last time out. That was largely achieved through some solid shot-stopping from Curtis Sanford, as the visitor pushed hard for a way back into the game. But although Denis Khlystov and – late on – Igor Mirnov reduced the arrears, Ilya Gorokhov got two assists with shots from the blue line as Loko took the points.
Around the league
Dynamo Moscow edged a 3-2 win at Donbass after having the better of a flurry of goals late in the second. The game was tied at 1-1 before Konstantin Glazachev and Maxim Yakutseniya traded goals. But just 27 seconds later Konstantin Gorovikov got the winner, firing in a wrist shot after Maxim Pestushko had taken the play right around the goal before picking out his team-mate.
CSKA misfired at home to Lev, mustering just 19 shots on goal and suffering a 0-3 defeat. However the game was in the balance until the last moments: David Ullstrom’s goal early in the second gave Lev a slender advantage before two goals in the last three minutes put the result beyond CSKA’s reach.
Barys returned to the top of the Eastern Conference after withstanding a fightback to beat Metallurg Novokuznetsk 5-3. It looked like plain sailing when Brandon Bochenski added to a pair of earlier goals from Nik Antropov and made it 4-1 with 12 minutes left. But Kurtis McLean scored twice in quick succession to set up a nervy finale before Roman Starchenko ended the recovery.
Atlant piled on the pressure at home to Traktor, but could not force the win despite outshooting the opposition 40-14. Mikhail Mokin’s first ever KHL goal set the visitor on its way to a 3-2 win as Atlant paid the price missing chances. Andrei Popov claimed the game-winner midway through the second period.
Denis Kulyash scored on the powerplay with 10 minutes left as Avangard picked up a useful 3-2 win over Sibir on home ice.
Fyodor Malykhin has been Avtomobilist’s top man this season, and his 1+1 included the game-winner in a convincing 5-1 success at home to Amur.
Sergei Barbashev’s third-period goal proved decisive as Admiral edged a 3-2 verdict at Ugra.
Torpedo overturned an early deficit to win 2-1 at Spartak. Vadim Krasnoslobodtsev got the game winner in the 58th minute.