SKA made it seven wins in a row with another success, this time away to Dinamo Riga. Dinamo Minsk snapped its losing streak, claiming its first victory at the seventh attempt.
Elsewhere, Avtomobilist beat Ak Bars to put a dampener on Zinetula Bilyaletdinov’s 700th game behind the bench for the Kazan team, Dynamo Moscow made it five wins on the spin and Kaspars Daugavins starred as Torpedo defeated Lokomotiv.
This game was all set up for a Zinetula Bilyaletdinov celebration. The experienced head coach was behind the bench for the 700th time with Ak Bars, and his players responded with a speedy start, racing into a 2-0 lead.
But his opponent was another wily old tactician, Vladimir Krikunov. And Krikunov found a way to get his Avtomobilist team back into the game, clawing back that deficit to win 3-2.
The start could hardly have been better for the visitor. Jiri Sekac opened the scoring with Ak Bars’ first shot on goal, and Anton Glinkin converted a fine pass from Vladimir Tkachyov to double the advantage.
Avtomobilist recovered in the middle session, with Alexander Torchenyuk’s short-handed goal reducing the deficit before Nikita Tryamkin wove his way through the defense to tie the scores. The winner came in the last five minutes of the game: Anatoly Golyshev’s pass from behind the net found Ilya Krikunov, who fired home from a tight angle.
Torpedo snapped its three-game losing streak in some style with a victory over Volga rival Lokomotiv.
Kaspars Daugavins was the key man for the home team, assisting on two goals in the first period and scoring the third himself. The Latvian’s first contribution saw him rush into the zone, only to be halted by Ilya Lyubushkin. The puck fell for Maxim Lazarev, who worked a shooting lane from the deep slot and fired home his first of the season. Next, Daugavins led the charge down the right and got into a shooting position of his own. That attempt was blocked, but Torpedo’s captain fed the puck back to Denis Barantsev and the defenseman delivered a wrist shot that flew over Alexander Sudnitsin’s glove.
Lokomotiv’s defending continued to look uneasy, and early in the second period Dmitry Shulenin’s dump and chase caused further confusion. Daugavins was on hand to capitalize, firing home off the inside of the post to complete the scoring. At the other end, Stanislav Galimov made 27 saves for his first shut-out of the season.
In-form Dynamo made it five wins in a row to set up a high-flying Moscow derby clash on Friday.
Severstal, which came into the game on the back of two wins of its own, took the lead in the 10th minute through Alexander Bumagin, but that lasted just 25 seconds before Dmitry Kazionov opened his account for the Blue-and-Whites to tie the game.
The visitor forged ahead in the second period when Vladimir Bryukvin claimed his third of the season, and put the issue beyond doubt in the final stanza with unanswered goals from Daniil Tarasov, Andrei Alexeyev and Artyom Podshendyalov.
Dinamo Minsk got its first win of the season, at the seventh attempt, after coming from behind to win in Sochi.
The host got the only goal of the first period through Alexei Tsvetkov, but Dinamo responded with two markers just after the midway point. Alexander Kitarov tied it up and Justin Fontain got his second of the season to give the visitor the lead. Vadim Shchegolkov responded for Sochi minutes later, and the game was level at the second intermission.
Then came Rob Klinkhammer. The Canadian forward escaped a ban after the disciplinary committee reviewed his ejection in Dinamo’s previous game, and responded by opening his account for the season. In the 46th minute he went around the back and emerged into enough space to squeeze home a shot from a tight angle. That was the game-winner; Fontain got his second of the night to add some gloss to the scoreline.
It’s seven wins out of seven for the defending champion as SKA continues to look unstoppable in the Western Conference.
Dinamo, despite working hard to keep the score down, showed little sign of snapping that streak: the shot count read 44-21 in SKA’s favor, with 21 of those efforts coming in the third period. Home goalie Janis Kalnins did a great job in keeping his team in contention, but could not prevent the inevitable.
SKA got in front early on through Sergei Kalinin, and limited Dinamo to just two shots in the first period. However, it wasn’t until the 28th minute that the visitor doubled its lead; Nikita Gusev got the goal. Lucas Lessio reduced the deficit on the power play to keep the game alive going into the final stanza, but Sergei Shirokov completed the scoring in the 45th minute.
A lively meeting in Moscow went Jokerit’s way thanks to two goals early in the third period. Niklas Jensen and Marko Anttila scored twice in the first seven minutes of the final session, opening a 4-2 lead that proved too much for Spartak. Former Jokerit man Ville Lajunen got one back, but the visitor held on.
After a tight opening period, the game exploded into life in the second as the teams traded four goals. Twice Jokerit forged ahead on the power play – Jesse Joensuu and Sami Lepisto finding Markus Svensson’s net. Twice, Spartak tied it up – Lajunen assisting Alexander Komaristy for the first, Dmitry Yudin getting the second.
In the end, though, the difference between the teams came down to staying out of the box. Spartak gave up three power play goals from five minor penalties; Jokerit only had six PIMs, and killed them all.