January 27 round-up
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl became the latest team to confirm participation in this season’s playoffs thanks to a home win over Salavat Yulaev. Dynamo Moscow missed the chance to join Loko, going down 2-1 at home to a Mozyakin-inspired Magnitka. Controversial Torpedo head coach Peteris Skudra was in trouble again, but after he was ejected from the game against SKA his team rallied to win 4-2. Sibir and Neftekhimik boosted their playoff hopes in the East before Spartak finally ended its losing streak in the West.
Sibir moved to within two points of a playoff place thanks to a decisive road win at Lada.
The turning point came early in the second period. Maxim Shalunov’s 19th goal of the season put Sibir in front after 25 minutes, then a boarding penalty for Rafael Akhmetov gave Maxim Ignatovich the chance to double the lead on the power play.
Neftekhimik kept its outside hopes of a playoff place alive with a resounding victory over Avangard.
A powerful first-period display settled this game. Dmitry Ogurtsov opened the scoring in the fourth minute, Igor Polygalov doubled the lead on the power play and Nikita Kvartalnov made it 3-0 in the 13th minute.
Avangard never really found a response and went further behind when Ildar Shiksatdarov scored late in the middle stanza. Nikolai Lemtyugov then got himself in trouble for starting a fight with Kvartalnov before the game petered out in the final session. Andrei Karavayev made 29 saves for his shut-out.
The result leaves Andrei Nazarov’s team five points shy of eighth-placed Admiral, but with just five games left to make up the deficit.
This clash between power house and struggler went entirely according to the form book, with the home team romping to an emphatic victory.
Artyom Lukoyanov gave Ak Bars a fourth-minute lead, but it wasn’t until the second period that the home team turned its dominance into goals. Stepan Zakharchuk set the tone right after the restart, Jiri Sekac converted a power play in the 34th minute and Michal Jordan made it 4-0 in the 36th.
The third period brought further goals for Anton Glinkin and Dmitry Arkhipov, before Stanislav Galimov missed out on a shutout when Konstantin Parkhomenko scored in a last-minute consolation goal for Metallurg.
Torpedo head coach Peteris Skudra incurred the wrath of the officials again, getting himself ejected from this game at the start of the second period for abusing the referee.
However, that did not hamper his team’s progress – Torpedo, trailling 0-1 to an Ilya Kovalchuk goal, recovered to win the game 4-2.
Vladimir Galuzin made it 2-2 seconds after Nikolai Prokhorkin and Alexei Potapov picked up major penalties for fighting, then John Norman scored off the rebound from Kirill Urakov’s shot to put the home team ahead for the first time on the night.
SKA thought it had equalized in the closing stages, but the video official ruled out the goal. Then Vyacheslav Kulyomin scored into an empty net to seal the win.
Loko secured its playoff spot with a victory that takes it back to third in the Western Conference, while Salavat’s sixth successive defeat increases the worries in Ufa as the season approaches the business end.
This entertaining game – the day’s highest scoring – was a close battle, even if Loko never trailed. The teams traded goals in the first 10 minutes, with Alexander Kadeikin opening the scoring in the fifth and Anton Lazarev tying it up in the 10th.
The second period began with a pair of power play goals, one at each end as Max Talbot and Linus Omark made the score 2-2. But it ended with Lokomotiv in the ascendancy as Ilya Lyubushkin made it 3-1.
Pavel Koledov’s power play goal early in the third gave the home team a two-goal cushion for the first time in the game, but Salavat wasn’t done and reduced the deficit thanks to a great strike from Zakhar Arzamastsev in the 50th minute. Lokomotiv wasted little time in responding, and barely a minute later Andrei Loktionov made it 5-3, securing the home victory and guaranteeing his team a playoff place.
Another week, and another record for the unstoppable Sergei Mozyakin. This time he improved on his personal best return for a KHL regular season, scoring twice to win the game and take his personal tally to 77 points for the season. That’s already up on his 76-point haul of 2012-13, and puts him just three behind Alexander Radulov’s all-time KHL best of 20+60=80, set in Salavat Yulaev’s championship team of 2010-11.
The ace marksman also did enough to slow the progress of in-form Dynamo, which had climbed to third place in the Western Conference prior to today’s game.
Initially the Blue-and-Whites seemed set to continue their winning run, with Artyom Podshendyalov opening the scoring in the second minute. But Mozyakin did well to convert a Jan Kovar feed in the 10th minute and tie the game, before going on to get the winner in the 45th.
Two of Vityaz’ in-form veterans led the way as the Podolsk team took another big step towards securing a playoff spot.
Today’s victory, combined with HC Sochi’s defeat at home to CSKA, puts Vityaz six points clear in seventh place, with Jokerit a further point behind but with a game in hand. There are just six games left for Vityaz to claim its first ever KHL playoff place.
The opening goal came midway through this game, with Vityaz converting a 5-on-3 power play. The officials referred Alexei Kopeikin’s unassisted effort to the video ref and, as the crowd celebrated with a Mexican Wave around the arena, the goal was awarded. Alexei Makeyev made it 2-0 in the 54th minute but Yury Petrov pulled one back for Traktor with four minutes left.
The home team would not be denied, though. Maxim Afinogenov continued his impressive form with an empty-net goal to seal the point and move his team ever closer to that long-awaited playoff.
A shut-out from Viktor Fasth dealt a blow to Sochi’s playoff prospects as the Black Sea team failed to increase its advantage over Jokerit.
The Swedish international made 23 saves, while the visiting offense kept Konstantin Barulin under pressure throughout the game.
That pressure was at its most intense in a first period which saw the Russian international face 22 shots. Only one of them got past him – Geoff Platt scoring on a power play in the seventh minute.
The middle stanza was more competitive, but produced no further goals. Platt then made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute, despite Sochi starting to create more chances.
After 10 successive defeats, Spartak finally had something to cheer with an overtime success over Severstal.
Igor Mirnov’s 64th-minute goal snapped a 2-2 tie and brought some relief for the Red-and-Whites after a dismal sequence dating back to the turn of the year.
In the final two minutes Spartak thought it had got the winner when Lukas Radil scored on the power play, but Severstal hit back with 12 seconds left as Yury Trubachyov pressed home the advantage after goalie Jakub Kovar was called to the bench. That forced the game into overtime, and threatened to prolong Spartak’s misery, but Mirnov rose to the occasion to settle the outcome.