Andy Potts,
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Jokerit Helsinki 2 SKA St. Petersburg 3 (SO)

Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk showed their star quality to give SKA a narrow win in Finland.

Despite the differing fortunes of the two teams this season, Jokerit pushed the league leader hard as head coach Jukka Jalonen sought to claim victory against his former club.

SKA took an early lead as Datsyuk and Kovalchuk combined to set up Sergei Plotnikov's seventh-minute opener, but the visitor could not extend that lead despite enjoying more chances than Jokerit.

That looked costly when Tommi Huhtala tied the game in the 51st minute, and the goal sparked a late scoring surge. Kovalchuk reinstated SKA's lead on 53 minutes, but Pekka Jormaka levelled the scores to take the game into overtime and ultimately a shoot-out.

The stage was set for Datsyuk to weave his magic once again, and the veteran star did not disappoint, scoring the only goal in the shoot-out to send the points back to Petersburg.

Nazarov's winning run continues

Avangard Omsk 1 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 3

Head coach Andrei Nazarov has found a winning formula for Neftekhimik - and today's upset of Avangard was the team's fourth victory in a row.

The host would have been confident ahead of the game, starting out 26 points better off and enjoying a seven-game winning streak, but Neftekhimik unleashed a first-period whirlwind.

Richard Gynge and Konstantin Makarov delivered a quickfire salvo early on, scoring two goals in 14 seconds. Gennady Stolyarov got his second goal of the season to make it 3-0 at the first intermission.

Things improved for Avangard thereafter, but not enough. Dominik Furch came into the net and denied any further goals for the visitor, making 11 saves in 44 minutes of action. But there was only one score at the other end, when Nikita Lisov got one back in the 57th minute. That wasn't sufficient to change the outcome as Neftekhimik moved to within one point of the playoff places.

Slovan overturns the form book at Torpedo

Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 1 Slovan Bratislava 4

There was another surprise result in the Western Conference as Slovan stunned third-placed Torpedo.

The teams' recent form was a mirror image: Torpedo had five wins from six, while Slovan had five losses from the same sequence. But that counted for nothing when the Slovaks raised their game in the latter half of the third period.

Igor Musatov made it 2-1 to Slovan in the 50th minute, and went on to add an assist on Radek Smolenak's empty netter. In between times, Nick Plastino found the net for Slovan.

Earlier, Ziga Jeglic gave the visitor the lead early in the second period, but Kirill Vorobyov tied it up early in the third.

Around the league

Ak Bars eased to a 2-0 win at lowly Metallurg Novokuznetsk with a dominant performance. Goals from Fyodor Malykhin and Mikhail Varnakov secured the outcome as Ak Bars outshot its host 41-16. Stanislav Galimov picked up a shut-out along the way.

Sibir boosted its playoff prospects with a 3-1 home win over Lada. Goals from Sergei Shumakov, Maxim Shalunov and Evgeny Artyukhin got the Siberians back on form after two straight losses and lifted Sibir level on points with eighth-placed Barys. Lada replied through Dmitry Sinitsyn but could not escape a sixth successive loss.

Dinamo Minsk eased to a 4-1 win over its namesake in Riga. First-period goals from Alexander Materukhin, Alexander Pavlovich and Nikita Komarov made it 3-0. Evgeny Lisovets added a fourth in the middle stanza; Maris Bichevskis got a late consolation for the Latvians.

Spartak slipped to a fifth successive defeat after going down 1-0 at home to Medvescak. The Croatians got the only goal through captain Mike Glumac in the 33rd minute. Drew MacIntyre made 29 saves to preserve that advantage.

Andy Potts,
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Related clubs

Avangard (Omsk) Avangard (Omsk)
Ak Bars (Kazan) Ak Bars (Kazan)
Dinamo (Minsk) Dinamo (Minsk)
Dinamo (Riga) Dinamo (Riga)
Jokerit (Helsinki) Jokerit (Helsinki)
Lada (Togliatti) Lada (Togliatti)
Medvescak (Zagreb) Medvescak (Zagreb)
Metallurg (Novokuznetsk) Metallurg (Novokuznetsk)
Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk) Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk)
Sibir (Novosibirsk Region) Sibir (Novosibirsk Region)
SKA (Saint Petersburg) SKA (Saint Petersburg)
Slovan (Bratislava) Slovan (Bratislava)
Spartak (Moscow) Spartak (Moscow)
Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod)
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