Admiral Vladivostok 1 SKA St. Petersburg 4
Another classy goal from Pavel Datsyuk set table-topping SKA on the way to its sixth successive win.
After Patrik Hersley and Evgeny Dadonov ran rings around the Admiral defense, Datsyuk brought the puck to the inside edge of the circle and lifted a wrist shot over the sprawling form of a defenseman and past goalie Igor Bobkov to open the scoring in the 11th minute.
Admiral responded strongly, creating several opportunities to tie the game, but failed to take advantage. Then, late in the second period, Anton Belov’s power play goal made it 2-0 and put the game out of the host’s reach.
Nikita Gusev added a third, snaffling a loose puck and forcing it home even as he fell to the ice and Jarno Koskiranta completed SKA’s scoring with an empty-net goal. Maxim Kazakov got Admiral’s consolation goal but there was no stopping Oleg Znarok’s team on its onward march.
Kunlun Red Star 0 CSKA Moscow 2
The Red Star of CSKA outshone the Red Star of Kunlun despite a brave performance from the Chinese newcomer.
For two of the three periods there was little in the game, but in the middle stanza the Army Men found another gear and produced some scintillating hockey to claim the win. CSKA led the shot count 21-1 for that middle session and the pressure told. Goalie Tomi Karhunen was impressive again, but eventually gave up two goals midway through the session and that was enough for the visitor.
Andrei Kuzmenko got the first, a backhand finish from close range as CSKA swarmed around the home net. The second went to Vyacheslav Osnovin, firing home through a crowd of players. It wasn’t highlight-reel hockey, but it did a job for the Muscovites.
At the other end, Kunlun had chances – in the other two periods the Chinese team outshot CSKA 21-14 without finding a way past Viktor Fasth. But in the end, clinical finishing proved sufficient to overcome dogged determination.
Around the league
Sibir’s playoff hopes took a blow with a surprise defeat to lowly Metallurg Novokuznetsk. Alexei Razumov scored in the 33rd and 50th minutes to give the visitor a 2-0 lead and Dmitry Lukin’s late response for Sibir was not enough to salvage anything from the game. The Novosibirsk team remains in ninth, one point adrift of Neftekhimik.
Amur won 4-2 at home to Severstal in a battle of the outsiders. Tomas Zohorna gave the host an early advantage, but the action heated up in the third period. Vitaly Popov and Kirill Kapustin scored two in three minutes to extend the lead to 3-0, but Severstal struck back with quick fire goals from Igor Magonin and Ruslan Karlin to set up a tense finale. Kristian Kuusela fired into an empty net in the last second to secure Amur’s win.