Dynamo Moscow 6 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 3
Dynamo maintained its recent upswing in form to tighten its grip on a playoff place with a high-scoring win over Loko.
The Blue-and-Whites were under pressure a few weeks ago, but this win makes it six games in a row where Sergei Oreshkin’s men have taken at least one point, helping to build a six-point cushion over the teams in eighth and ninth place.
This time, though, the home team did it the hard way, recovering a 0-2 deficit after Vladislav Kartayev and Max Talbot put Lokomotiv in a strong position by the 31st minute.
Artyom Fyodorov was the architect of the revival, finishing with a hat-trick of assists. His first two came in the closing minutes of the middle stanza and helped Maxim Karpov and Ilya Nikulin to tie the game. Alexander Rybakov made it 3-2 off a Denis Kokarev assist, and Kokarev found the net himself in the 48th minute to give the home team some breathing space. When Artyom Podshendyalov made it 5-2 – off another Kokarev helper – Dynamo seemed to be cruising to victory.
Loko wasn’t finished, though, and Czech D-man Jakub Nakladal got his first for the club to set up an intriguing last couple of minutes. But Fyodorov wasn’t done either, setting up Alexei Tsvetkov for Dynamo’s sixth with a sweet no-look assist.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk 4 Kunlun Red Star 2
The first meeting between the defending champion and the KHL newcomer ended in an emphatic victory for Metallurg in Shanghai. Since then, though, the Chinese team has toughened up its act and is proving a far more challenging opponent. After being blown away by a Mozyakin masterclass, Vladimir Yurzinov’s men sought to show their recent progress on one of the biggest stages in Russian hockey.
And the visitor gave Magnitka a real scare before finally submitting in the closing stages. Sean Collins capitalized after a wayward clearance from Jan Kovar, finishing off a swift and impressive counter attack to give Kunlun a 10th-minute lead. Metallurg hit back with two goals in 90 seconds as Denis Platonov tied the game before Alexander Semin made it 2-1 on the power play.
Kunlun still wasn’t done, though: Alexei Ponikarovsky tied it up early in the second and the scores remained level until the intermission. Then, in the third, Metallurg got the job done. Semin got his second of the night, putting away Tomas Filippi’s pass from behind the net. Danis Zaripov added another powerplay goal, assisted by a cunning Sergei Mozyakin pass, and that completed the scoring.
Salavat Yulaev Ufa 4 Amur Khabarovsk 3 (OT)
Linus Omark, who is about to join up with team Sweden for next weekend’s Channel 1 Cup in Moscow, was Salavat Yulaev’s key man as it recovered to beat struggling Amur.
After losing to Kunlun last time out, Ufa feared the worst when Amur went 3-1 up with goals from Vitaly Popov, Vladislav Ushenin and Vyacheslav Litovchenko.
But the final stages were all about the host. Omark got it back to 2-3 on 48 minutes and Denis Kulyash tied it up with seven to play. There was no winner in regulation, but it needed just 23 seconds of overtime for Omark’s shot to give Igor Grigorenko the chance to win it for Salavat.
Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 2 Ak Bars Kazan 0
In-form Torpedo made it four wins on the spin as Ilya Proskuryakov frustrated Ak Bars. The goalie was helped by some solid defense that limited the visitor to just 18 shots on his net as he claimed his sixth shut-out of the season.
At the other end, the home team had rather more to shout about. Evgeny Mozer opened the scoring in the 19th minute off a Nikolai Zherdev assist before a John Norman empty net goal completed the win. Torpedo tightened its grip on third place in the West; Ak Bars loses ground to Metallurg in the race to top the Eastern Conference.
Around the league
Neftekhimik had an emphatic victory at HC Sochi to return to the playoff places in the East. The 5-0 scoreline gave head coach Andrei Nazarov his first success since returning from suspension and the return moved his team ahead of Barys and into eighth place. Two goals apiece from Dan Sexton and Richard Gynge led the way; Andrei Sergeyev got the other one. Ville Kolpanen performed superbly, making 49 saves for his shut-out.
Vityaz missed the chance to overtake HC Sochi and move back into the top eight in the West after needing overtime to win at Severstal. The visitor led three times in regulation, but was pegged back each time, with Ruslan Karlin’s 50th-minute equalizer denying Vityaz all three points. Alexander Nikulin struck in overtime to secure the win, but his team remains ninth, level with Sochi on 60 points.
Lada recovered from a poor start to win at Spartak in overtime. The Red-and-Whites dominated early on, scoring twice in the first 10 minutes through Lukas Radil and Konstantin Glazachev. But Lada revived at the start of the second period as Viktor Komarov and Georgy Belousov tied the game inside 25 minutes. There was no further scoring in regulation and it looked like overtime would be similarly inconclusive until Dmitry Kostromitin won it with his first of the season, 22 seconds before the hooter.
Traktor had little difficulty in overcoming Admiral, winning 4-1 at home. Vladimir Denisov set the host on its way in the first period and Alexei Kruchinin doubled the advantage early in the second. Dmitry Lugin got one back as Admiral threatened a revival but Artyom Borodkin snuffed that out four minutes later. Kirill Koltsov completed the scoring late in the game.
Dinamo Riga won the battle of the Western outsiders, edging Slovan 3-2 in Latvia. Roberts Lipsbergs got his first goal of the season to put Dinamo up in the first period and when Mikelis Redlihs added a second in the 51st minute the game seemed as good as over. Slovan attempted a rally, though, with Jonathan Cheechoo reducing the arrears 58 seconds later. Nothing daunted, Miks Indrasis needed just 30 seconds to reinstate the two-goal cushion. Jeff Taffe’s goal was too late to save Slovan from defeat.