Nizhny Novgorod (17:00)
Game one of the final week of the regular season saw Lokomotiv looking to close in on home-ice advantage for the playoffs, while Admiral was looking for points to help secure its place in the top eight.
The home team made an early breakthrough, scoring after just 64 seconds when youngster Alexander Polunin unleashed a devastating wrist shot from Artyom Ilyenko’s feed. But it wasn’t until the second stanza that Loko really took control. First, Jakub Nakladal spanked home a power play goal from the blue line in the 21st minute, then Emil Galimov’s one-timer made it 3-0 just before the second intermission.
Further goals early in the third saw Andrei Loktionov and Daniil Apalkov put the game well beyond Admiral’s reach. The visitor managed a consolation effort in the 52nd minute through Denis Alexeyev, denying the impressive Alexei Murygin a shut-out despite making 40 saves. Lokomotiv still had the final word, though, when Pavel Koledov cashed in on a defensive error to make it 6-1.
Loko’s win boosts its chances of claiming third place in the West, but the result arguably has greater significance in the Eastern Conference. Admiral’s loss leaves it anxiously awaiting the results for Sibir, Neftekhimik and even Avtomobilist tomorrow. That trio retains hopes of sneaking into the top eight, while today’s score also enhances Kunlun Red Star’s hopes of making the playoffs in its debut season.