SKA suffered a second successive home defeat, going down 3-1 to Dynamo Moscow. It was the Blue-and-Whites’ second victory over the Army Men this season and served as another reminder to SKA that impressive early season form offers no guarantees of sustained success against the league’s strongest teams.
Dynamo’s 4-1 victory, hard on the heels of Metallurg Magnitogorsk’s recent triumph here, served as a wake-up call for Vyacheslav Bykov after a season where his team has dealt confidently with the competition’s underdogs but has sometimes looked vulnerable against other Gagarin Cup pretenders.
The first period was scoreless but it didn’t take long for the second to roar into life. Dynamo’s Konstantin Gorovikov was fouled by Andrei Kuteikin just 34 seconds after the restart and the forward calmly converted his penalty shot.
Vyacheslav Bykov clearly found the right words for his troops, and play immediately switched to the other end where Alexander Yeryomenko was kept at full stretch to deny Tony Martensson, Alexander Ryazantsev and Viktor Tikhonov in short order before Dynamo sought a 30-second refuge of its own. That time-out merely delayed the inevitable, though; within a minute Alexander Barabanov scored on the wraparound to reduce the deficit.
SKA kept up the pressure until Ilya Kovalchuk took an unfortunate penalty in the 34th minute and Dynamo took full advantage of the power play with Mironov feeding his blue line partner Alexander Osipov for another mighty shot that left Ivannikov with no chance.
The third period was a more cautious affair, but SKA’s Yury Alexandrov and Dynamo’s Yegor Dugin both missed good chances before another penalty on Kovi enabled Dynamo to wrap it up. Nikolai Zherdev, whose goalie interference robbed Dugin of a goal a few minutes earlier, did the hard work behind the net before finding Martins Karsums out on the front and the Latvian showed some neat footballing skills before putting the puck upstairs.
For once Magnitka’s powerful PK didn’t deliver, giving up two goals to the Sibir power play, and that swung the game decisively in the home team’s favor.
Admittedly Metallurg’s cause wasn’t helped by first-choice goalie Vasily Koshechkin returning from international duty with a slight injury; he will sit out the whole of his team’s Far Eastern tour.
His replacement, Alexander Pechursky, was left cursing his luck in the 13th minute after a Dmitry Monya shot looped up off his shoulder and dropped into the net to give Sibir the first of those power play goals.
Despite defeat, Magnitka at least managed to maintain one proud record this season – Oskar Osala’s goal 49 seconds from the end kept up the team’s record of scoring in every game so far.
Justin Azevedo led the way, scoring twice including the opening goal after just 60 seconds. That set the tone for a first period that Ak Bars dominated. Two goals in 23 seconds saw Mikhail Varnakov and Dmitry Obukhov chase Ivan Nalimov from the net by the 13th minute and the outcome of the game was all but assured.
He lasted just 11 minutes of this game before being ejected following a spot of sparring with Loko’s Geoff Platt. Initially that seemed to have little impact on proceedings – Roman Lyubimov and Damir Zhafyarov put CSKA 2-0 in front early in the second and a comfortable home win looked likely to follow.
But Platt, who received a minor penalty for his role in the earlier flashpoint, returned to haunt CSKA at the end. He scored twice in five minutes, the second of them just 23 seconds before the hooter, to tie the game at 2-2.
CSKA secured the win thanks to Lyubimov in the shoot-out, but it was Radulov who once again dominated the post-match conversation.
HC Sochi battled back from 1-4 down at Barys only to lose out in a shoot-out. Roman Derlyuk actually put the visitor ahead, but that was quickly forgotten as Dustin Boyd tied it up and three goals early in the second put Barys on top. Cory Emmerton got one back then goals late in the third from Ilya Krikunov and Andrei Kostitsyn took us to overtime. But home goalie Jan Laco was unbeatable in the shoot-out and Nigel Dawes claimed the game winner.
Elsewhere it was a better day for goalies. The clash between Salavat Yulaev and Avangard was tied 1-1 before Konstantin Barulin put up the barricades the shoot-out to guide Avangard to victory thanks to Kirill Semyonov’s goal.
And there was little scoring in Khabarovsk where Avtomobilist picked up a 1-0 win at Amur. Anatoly Golyshev got the only goal on a power play midway through the second period; Jakub Kovar made 24 saves.
Jokerit avenged its defeat against Dinamo Minsk in its opening KHL game, beating the Belarusians 3-1 in Helsinki. Eetu Poysti and Jere Sallinen fired in wrist shots at each end of the second period to open up a lead and Topi Jaakola extended the lead early in the third. Charles Linglet got a late consolation marker for Dinamo.