East: Chudinov scores from his own half, Ufa takes its chances. March 20 playoffs20 March 2019, 20:30
Avangard Omsk 1 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3
When this season’s Eastern Conference leader met defending Gagarin Cup holder Metallurg Magnitogorsk, it was a fair bet that sparks would fly. And, true to its billing, the big game got off to a frenetic start with the teams trading goals in the first three minutes.
Metallurg was first on the scoresheet when Denis Kazionov converted his brother Dmitry’s pass on 1:21. But the response was almost immediate: a penalty for Yaroslav Khabarov led to a power play chance that Alexander Kucheryavenko converted.
The battle remained hard-fought in the middle session, with both sides creating chances. But it was Danis Zaripov who broke the deadlock for the visitor, potting his first goal of the season in the 36th minute.
That would ultimately prove to be enough to win the game: Avangard could not find a way past Ilya Samsonov in the third and Sergei Mozyakin put one into the empty net to have the final say. Magnitka consolidates in second place, moving to within four points of Avangard.
Ak Bars Kazan 3 Dinamo Minsk 5
In-form Dinamo made it three wins from three after a spectacular recovery in the last seven minutes of this game.
It had looked like Ak Bars was on the way to a straightforward home success when Fyodor Malykhin made it 3-1 just before the second intermission, and the early exchanges in the third period did little to hint that the game was on the point of turning upside down.
But everything changed in the 54th minute when Artur Gavrus pulled a goal back for Dinamo. Suddenly it was game on and within a minute Alexander Materukhin had his second of the night to tie the scores.
The momentum had shifted decisively. Matt Ellison, something of a goalscoring talisman in Minsk, delivered the knock-out blow on 55:28 and Dinamo led for the first time on the night after a burst of three goals in less than two-and-a-half minutes.
Ak Bars tried to find a way back but its progress was hampered by a tripping penalty for Malykhin and all hope was ended when Rob Klinkhammer scored a fifth into the empty net.
The victory moves the Belarusians into the top eight in the Western Conference for the first time this season, tied on 19 points with Spartak and Jokerit. Ak Bars remains third in the East, but loses ground on Metallurg.
Dynamo Moscow 4 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 3 (OT)
Dynamo, goalless in its previous two encounters, finally solved its scoring problem to edge an overtime win over Loko.
There was good news for the host towards the end of an evenly-matched opening period. Alexei Sopin’s well-placed pass released Alexander Rybakov for Dynamo’s first goal since its shoot-out win over Spartak on September 17.
But a second-period slump saw the Blue-and-Whites concede three unanswered goals. Loko levelled quickly when Petri Kontiola touched a Yegor Averin shot away from Alexander Yeryomenko. Then the visitor took the game away from the Muscovites with two quick fire goals just before the second intermission. Daniil Apalkov and Alexander Polunin scored two in three minutes to put the visitor in control.
Fans at the VTB Arena feared the worst with Dynamo drifting towards a third home defeat in five days. But Alexei Tsvetkov had other ideas. He got it back to 3-2 in the 47th minute before Mat Robinson tied the game with 46 seconds left to. In overtime, Tsvetkov produced the winner off a Martins Karsums assist, bringing some welcome relief to this corner of Moscow.
East: Chudinov scores from his own half, Ufa takes its chances. March 20 playoffs 20 March 2019, 20:30