SKA St. Petersburg 1 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 2
SKA’s 15-game winning streak was unceremoniously halted by unfancied Avtomobilist in the biggest shock of the day.
Pre-game, the talk was all about Pavel Datsyuk facing his home-town club as SKA closed in on Avangard’s KHL record streak of 18 wins.
Avto’s cause wasn’t helped by the absence of star forward Anatoly Golyshev, but Dmitry Megalinsky and Rok Ticar were the unexpected heroes of a game that turned the form book upside down and stunned a capacity crowd in Petersburg.
They scored two goals early in the second period, cancelling out Nikita Gusev’s opener late in the first and giving Avto the lead. Ticar claimed the game winner when he got his stick to the rebound after Artyom Gareyev’s shot was saved by Igor Shestyorkin.
SKA, brimming with power on offense as always, piled up the pressure on Igor Ustinsky’s net. The visiting goalie made 39 saves, a further 35 attempts were off target as the Army Men fell to a shock defeat. For Avto, struggling to keep its playoff hopes alive, this was only the second win in seven games.
Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 2 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 1
The shock results were not limited to St. Petersburg. In Nizhny Novgorod, Torpedo sprang a surprise of its own by handing the defending champion only its second defeat in nine games.
Vladimir Galuzin got the winner with nine minutes left, and it was a neatly worked goal. Nikolai Zherdev’s pass found Evgeny Grachyov at the near post. Pressured by a defenseman, Grachyov had no shooting angle but offered up a slick backhand pass for Galuzin to shoot home from the slot.
Earlier Torpedo took a first-period lead through Swedish international John Norman. Magnitka tied it up on a Chris Lee goal early in the third but could not find a way to win.
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 2 Dynamo Moscow 0
Two power play goals and another shut-out for Alexei Murygin proved sufficient for Lokomotiv to derail Dynamo.
In a game of relatively few chances, Max Talbot conjured up a beautiful no-look pass to give Petri Kontiola the simplest of finishes for Loko’s opening goal late in the first period.
It stayed at 1-0 until deep into the third period, with Loko happy to keep Dynamo at arm’s length in the second and managing to weather some more intense pressure in the third. Again, though, a penalty proved decisive. Dynamo, stretched, saw Alexander Kadeikin’s hopeful effort from a tight angle hit Maxim Solovyov’s skate and bounce into the net.
Murygin made 21 saves, Lokomotiv consolidates fourth place in the West.
Spartak Moscow 3 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 4 (OT)
Salavat Yulaev made it seven wins in a row thanks to an overtime strike from in-form Zakhar Arzamastsev at Spartak. He got his sixth in seven games to snap a 3-3 tie in Moscow after a lively finish to regulation time.
Salavat thought it had won the game when Alexander Loginov made it 3-2 with 90 seconds left, only for Spartak to snatch a dramatic last-gasp equalizer through Matthew Gilroy on 59:50.
The big finish mirrored a lively start, with the visitor opening the scoring after 27 seconds thanks to Evgeny Bodrov. Nothing daunted, Spartak replied to lead 2-1 at the intermission on goals from Maxim Potapov and Viktor Bobrov. Linus Omark, another in-form player, tied it up on a second-period power play, paving the way for the excitement to come.
Shut-outs in the Far East
The three early games all produced shut-outs, but it was mostly home forwards finding it tough. Admiral and Amur both suffered defeats on home ice, but Kunlun Red Star earned a 3-0 victory at home to Metallurg Novokuznetsk.
The Chinese team took an early lead through Oleg Yashin, but took time to subdue Metallurg’s resistance. Finally, goals in the last 10 minutes from Chad Rau and Yaroslav Alshevsky secured the points. Andrei Makarov made 31 saves for his second career shut-out.
In Khabarovsk, Avangard beat Amur 3-0 with stand-in goalie Oleg Shilin making 31 saves. Although the final margin was comfortable, Avangard had to work to wear down its host. The deadlock was finally broken with two quick goals from Nikolai Lemtyugov and Alexander Osipov late in the second period. Maxim Pestushko found the empty net to seal the win.
Sibir gave its playoff hopes a boost with a 2-0 win at Admiral. Danny Taylor made 30 saves to claim his first shut-out for his new club. Sergei Shumakov opened the scoring in the 35th minute but Admiral could not turn its dominance into goals and was sunk by a last-second empty net goal from Georgy Misharin.
Around the league
There was one more shut-out in Podolsk where Dinamo Minsk beat Vityaz 3-0 to record a second win in three games and return to the top eight. Sergei Kostitsyn opened the scoring in the fourth minute and added assists to goals for Matt Ellison and Evgeny Kovyrshin.
Jokerit returned to the playoff zone with a win at Medvescak. Peter Regin and Rasmus Rissanen set the Finns on their way in the first 10 minutes, but Lukas Lessio hit back to keep Medvescak in contention. Marko Antilla scored early in the second and Tommi Huhtala repeated the trick early in the third, before Thomas Larkin made it 2-4. An empty net goal from Regin wrapped it up for Jokerit, which climbs to sixth as Vityaz drops out of the top eight.
CSKA flirted with a shock defeat at home to Ugra before rallying to win 3-1. The Army Men were guilty of spurning their chances in the first period, and Ugra punished that with a goal from Alexander Akmaldinov on 37:40. The lead lasted just 20 seconds, though: Alexander Popov tied it up immediately before Maxim Mamin and Dmitry Kugryshev secured the win in the last 10 minutes. Goalie Andrei Filonenko had his first start of the season.
Barys bounced back from a 9-0 defeat to win 4-3 in overtime at Severstal. Nigel Dawes was the key man, getting the opening goal of the night and assisting on Martin St. Pierre’s 53rd-minute equalizer and Brandon Bochenski’s game-winner. Maxim Trunyov had two goals and an assist for Severstal, but ended on the losing side.
HC Sochi had a 2-1 home win over Traktor to climb above Dynamo into fifth place in the West. Yegor Morozov and Andrei Kostitsyn scored second-period goals to open a 2-0 lead; Derek Roy, scorer of a shoot-out winner last time out, got one back in the 36th minute but could not spark a recovery.
Dinamo Riga won in a shoot-out at Slovan to continue its upturn in form. The Western Conference’s bottom team made it five wins from six thanks to Patrick Mullen’s post-game winner. Jeff Taffe had given Slovan a fourth-minute lead, but Tim Sestito tied it up in the second period.