Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 3 CSKA Moscow 1
CSKA boss Dmitry Kvartalnov had never seen his Army Men lose against Lokomotiv in six previous encounters – but a freakish blunder from defenseman Mikhail Naumenkov and a late from Denis Mosalyov shattered that streak.
They condemned CSKA to a second consecutive loss since the international break and, just as in Podolsk on Wednesday, the Red-and-Blues gave up a lead on the way to defeat.
True, it was a less comfortable position than the 2-0 advantage Kvartalnov’s team held after 40 minutes in the Moscow suburbs, but with the head coach lamenting his players’ inability to see out winning positions as readily as earlier in the season the loss represents another blow.
Igor Ozhiganov gave CSKA a 13th-minute lead on the power play but Lokomotiv soon profited from a catalogue of errors. First a faulty line-change led to a penalty, then Mikhail Naumenkov flipped a lovely backhand shot over the shoulder of his own goalie, Ilya Sorokin. Petri Kontiola was credited with the goal, Naumenkov stormed back to the sidelines slamming his stick into the bench.
The game remained evenly-poised from then on until Mosalyov grabbed the winner with 10 minutes to play. Alexander Kadeikin’s backhand pass to the slot caused confusion; Mosalyov reacted fastest to snaffle up the chance. An empty-net goal from Kontiola sealed the win.
Vityaz Podolsk 0 SKA St. Petersburg 4
Two goals from Ilya Kovalchuk helped SKA to a comfortable win – and lifted the scoring star to the top of the KHL’s points chart alongside Sergei Mozyakin. Kovi now has 38 points for the season, while his 18-goal tally puts him one behind Russia’s all-time record scorer in the current campaign.
Both of Kovalchuk’s goal came on the power play late in the second period. First he converted a 5-on-3 advantage in the 37th minute, then snatched another marker two seconds before the intermission. That took the game beyond Vityaz, which already trailed to Jarno Koskiranta’s shorthanded breakaway goal on 14:40.
Nikita Gusev added a fourth early in the final stanza as SKA made it 13 games without defeat, closing in on Avangard’s record winning streak. Igor Shestyorkin made 20 saves for his seventh shut-out of the season.
Around the league
Vladimir Krikunov secured his first victory in his new job behind the bench at Avtomobilist after his team edged Medvescak 3-2. Anatoly Golyshev gave Avto a second-period lead, but the game was decided by two goals from Artyom Gareyev midway through the third. Medvescak seemed to be out of contention until the closing stages when Brandon McMillan scored twice to set up an anxious finale, but Avto held on to take the win.
Severstal’s playoff push was boosted with a point away to Dynamo Moscow, but the Blue-and-Whites did enough to claim the win in overtime. Andrei Kuteikin’s first goal since moving from Avangard was enough to take the points. Earlier Nikolai Stasenko’s power play goal gave the visitor a first-period lead but Alexei Tsvetkov tied it up on the half-hour, also on the power play.