Avangard forward Alexander Perezhogin got his 200th goal in Russia’s top league – and it was a vital one, snapping a 3-3 tie to give his team victory at Salavat Yulaev.
There were just five seconds left on the clock, and Avangard was enjoying a power play when Perezhogin controlled a Nikita Pivtsakin pass with his skate and swept a shot into Vladimir Sokhatsky’s net from the edge of the right-hand circle.
The home team may well feel it did enough to win the game, leading for long periods and having a slight edge on the shot count. But two goals from Chad Kolarik – including a 56th-minute equalizer – enabled Avangard to keep pace until Perezhogin’s big moment.
Twice the home team held a two-goal advantage, profiting from CSKA penalties on four separate occasions in the first half-hour of the game. Mikelis Redlihs led the way with two goals midway through the first period.
But the Army Men, even without Alexander Radulov and Igor Grigorenko, found a way to recover. Evgeny Korotkov got his first of the season before Ondrej Nemec scored twice to mark his first appearance in Red and Blue after moving from Atlant. Fellow newcomer Igor Makarov, previously with SKA and Neftekhimik this season, also found the net on his debut.
The game winner went to Stephane da Costa; the French forward remains in contention for the top scorer’s prize after notching his 22nd marker of the season early in the final stanza. CSKA remains clear at the top; Dinamo is still some way adrift of the play-off spots.
Thuresson, though, was unstoppable: he tied it up on 35 minutes and got what proved to be the game-winner in the 49th. Pavel Chernov stretched Severstal’s lead before, inevitably, an empty net goal gave Thuresson the final word.
His performance also brought up a notable career milestone: after a long wait since October 27 the goalie finally posted his 50th perfect display in the KHL.
The 4-1 success in Astana was Ak Bars’ 22nd win in 26 meetings and kept Zinetula Bilyaletdinov’s team on top in the East.
Two goals from Mikhail Varnakov paced the visitor into a 3-0 lead inside 21 minutes, and took the forward to 12 for the season, making him the team’s leading goalscorer.
Neftekhimik’s Dan Sexton had a late, late Christmas rush to snatch victory for his team at Slovan. The points looked destined for the home team after three goals in five minutes early in the third period turned a 1-3 deficit into a 4-3 lead. But Sexton scored twice in the 59th minute to put Neftekhimik back in front and Yegor Milovzorov added an empty netter to complete a 6-4 win.
Goals from Anton Glinkin and Artyom Borodkin helped Traktor to a 2-1 win at home to Lada. The visitor pulled one back in the last minute thanks to Martin Zatovic but ran out of time in the quest for an equalizer.
Sakari Salminen’s overtime winner saw Torpedo edge the verdict against HC Sochi. The visitor led twice in this battle of two play-off contenders, but Nikita Filatov tied it up at 2-2 in the 27th minute and it stayed that way until Salminen struck 95 seconds before the end of overtime.