Kunlun Red Star 3 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 1
After a rampant 8-1 victory in Astana, Lokomotiv hit the buffers at the next stop on its Asian tour as newcomer Kunlun picked up a victory to savor against one of the big names of Russian hockey.
The host, mindful of how Barys had been torn apart at the weekend, sought to slow the game down in the opening stages. Blocking up center ice, minimizing looks at either net and keeping Loko at bay worked until Ilya Lyubushkin fired home a powerful shot to open the scoring.
Suddenly, the visitor seemed to be seizing control. The pressure on 21-year-old goalie Artyom Zagidulin, making just his third start for Kunlun, intensified and further goals seemed inevitable.
But they came at the other end. Against the run of play Martin Bakos got his second in as many games to tie the game up in the second period.
Then Danill Apalkov’s error presented Linus Videll with the chance to put the Chinese team in front before Tuukka Mantyla made it 3-1 in the 54th minute. Loko’s four-game winning streak ran out of steam while Red Star shone bright again after two defeats.
Spartak Moscow 3 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 0
There’s a logjam forming in the race for the playoffs in the West, with Spartak’s win meaning that just two points separates eight-placed Jokerit from Medvescak and the Red-and-Whites down in 11th and 12th.
Part of that comes from the way anyone can beat anyone in this section at the moment, with only the two Army clubs, SKA and CSKA, really maintaining much long-term consistency.
And that point was demonstrated yet again as Spartak outclassed third-placed Torpedo, swatting aside a tricky opponent with a goal in each period.
The game was fairly even in the early stages, but once the home team took a 10th-minute lead through Ryan Stoa the momentum tipped decisively Spartak’s way. The middle session saw the Red-and-Whites take control, outshooting Torpedo 11-3, and perhaps should have delivered more than Sergei Shmelyov’s marker midway through the period.
Torpedo was unable to make Spartak suffer for that wastefulness, though. Mikhail Plotnikov got a third early in the final stanza and Markus Svensson stayed alert for a 17-save shut-out.