(1) Dynamo Moscow 2
(8) Lokomotiv 1
Dynamo leads the series 2-0
Defenseman Maxim Solovyov made all the difference as Dynamo edged another tight verdict at home to Lokomotiv and prepares to take a 2-0 series lead on the road to Yaroslavl.
Solovyov struck twice to lead the Blue-and-Whites to a 2-1 victory, with Alexander Chernikov’s third-period reply setting up a nervous finale but coming too late to save Loko.
The first came in the 16th minute, with goalie Curtis Sanford screened as Solovyov’s shot came in from the blue line. His second, from similar distance, took a deflection of a defender’s stick to leave the goalie reacting late as it sneaked inside the near post.
Chernikov reduced the arrears with a close-range effort in the 54th minute, but Lokomotiv could not repeat Dynamo’s feat of 24 hours earlier and retrieve a 0-2 deficit late in the game. Instead the Railwaymen head home in urgent need of a victory to reignite the series.
(2) SKA 5
(7) CSKA 1
SKA leads the series 2-0
SKA struggled to break down CSKA in game one, edging a 1-0 verdict thanks to Andrei Sigaryov’s goal. But in game two the Petersburg team seized the initiative in the opening minutes and never allowed its Moscow rival a route back into the contest.
Viktor Tikhonov went from zero to hero in the opening four minutes: he found himself in the penalty box early on, and CSKA’s Jan Mursak missed a glorious chance to further punish his indiscretion. But once back on the ice Tikhonov wrapped up a slick combination to open the scoring on 3:07. Within two minutes Yury Alexandrov doubled the advantage; his one-timer left Jeff Glass with no chance and CSKA with little hope of squaring the series before heading home. Patrick Thoresen stretched the lead to 3-0 before the first intermission from an Alexandrov pass and SKA was finally showing the kind of powerful offense expected before the play-offs.
CSKA did claw one goal back early in the second through Igor Fefelov, but SKA was not to be denied. Further goals from Roman Cervenka and Kevin Dallman completed a convincing win, and when the action shifts to Moscow on Monday the Petersburg team will be confident of wrapping up the series with little fuss.
(3) Lev 5
(6) Medvescak 2
Lev leads the series 2-0
For the second game running Martin Thornberg got Lev’s game-winner as the Prague team came from behind to take a stranglehold on its series with Medvescak. Thornberg broke a 2-2 tie midway through the final frame after collecting Mikko Maenpaa’s diagonal and lifting his shot below the crossbar from a tight angle.
That completed a recovery for Lev, which had trailed 1-2 at the second intermission after goals from Matt Ellison and Bill Thomas had cancelled out Lukas Cingel’s first-period opener. Jiri Novotny, another scorer in the first game, tied the scores early in the third in the last second of a 5v3 power play.
The closing stages saw Lev stretch its lead through Patrik Zackrisson and a second play-off goal for Justin Azevedo, scored into an empty net. That gave the final scoreline a slightly more emphatic look than the game itself might have suggested and ensures that when KHL play-off hockey makes its first ever visit to Croatia on Monday Medvescak will have to work hard to remain in contention in this series.
(4) Donbass 3
(5) Dinamo Riga 1
Donbass leads the series 2-0
Teemu Laine made it four goals in two games as Donbass claimed a second successive play-off win over Dinamo Riga. The Finn added to his double on Friday with two more in Saturday’s 3-1 success as the Donetsk team seized control of the series before the action moves to Riga on Monday.
Laine got the opener for Donbass on 14:31 firing in a low drive after Clay Wilson dropped off the puck just inside the blue line. Then Oleg Piganovich doubled the advantage, sweeping a wrist shot onto the top shelf from the blue line to put Donbass in control early in the second period.
Roberts Bukarts halved the deficit, but Laine wasn’t done; he rounded off the scoring late in the game, acrobatically getting away from Sandis Ozolins to find the empty net as Dinamo tried and failed to force an equalizer.