East: Chudinov scores from his own half, Ufa takes its chances. March 20 playoffs20 March 2019, 20:30
It wasn’t a great time to be a goalie as the pucks went flying in around the KHL today. Avtomobilist top scored with eight goals at home to Amur, SKA rattled up seven away to Severstal and Barys hit six without replay in Riga. In total, nine games generated 58 goals.
But the night’s big game was a much closer battle. CSKA Moscow edged city rival Dynamo 3-1 with two late goals, making it seven wins in a row for the Army Men.
It finished as an eight-goal romp, and left Amur’s head coach Andrei Martemyanov questioning whether his players had the mental fortitude for their eighth successive road game since the start of the season.
Yet it started rather differently. Amur took a fourth-minute lead through Alexei Byvaltsev and held that advantage until Francis Pare tied it up in the 19th minute. The scores remained level until the midway mark, then Avto hit top gear, producing a blistering display through the remaining 30 minutes.
Artyom Gareyev made it 2-1 in the 32nd minute, and the game was settled with three goals in the last two minutes of the period. Anatoly Golyshev and Evgeny Chesalin increased the lead, Pare added his second of the night moments before the hooter.
The head coaches have enjoyed a long rivalry on the staff of four different Gagarin Cup-winning rosters, but the active confrontation in this game was relatively short.
Ak Bars took control in the first period with three unanswered goals. Popov opened the scoring in the third minute, then Azevedo added two more. Both of the Canadian’s efforts were assisted by Jiri Sekac and Anton Lander.
Daniil Ilyin pulled one back for Ugra early in the second but the 22-year-old’s contribution did little to slow Ak Bars’ progress. Popov made it 4-1 – Andrei Markov among the assists – before Ivan Lekomtsev got Ugra’s second in the 40th minute.
Lada’s unhappy run of home form continued with a fourth straight loss. Metallurg was never seriously threatened in this game, taking control with two early goals and establishing an advantage that it would never relinquish.
Evgeny Timkin and Sergei Mozyakin got things started with goals in the seventh and eighth minutes before Nikita Filatov pulled one back for Lada on the power play. But the second period began with Matt Ellison increasing Magnitka’s lead and the forward assisted as Tomas Filippi made it 4-1 in the 28th minute. Filippi then had a helper as Denis Platonov got Metallurg’s fifth, shortly after Charles Genoway pulled one back for Lada.
The third period saw a consolation effort from Kristaps Sotnieks, but there was no serious alarm as the defending champion posted its third straight victory.
Eight games played, eight games won. SKA’s start to the season has been hugely impressive. In Cherepovets, Oleg Znarok’s team was irresistible at times, bringing the kind of offensive power we’ve come to expect from this roster and giving a hard-working Severstal team no hope of an upset.
Sergei Shirokov was the key man in this win. He opened the scoring in the fifth minute after Maxim Karpov’s pass found him all alone in front of the net. Then he shot home from between the hash marks shortly after the host had killed a 5-on-3 penalty. Finally, he wrapped it up with the seventh of the night, completing his hat-trick off another Karpov assist.
Severstal tried hard. Petr Holik even managed to cancel out Shirokov’s opener with his first ever KHL goal, but the Steelmen’s night was summed up by the ‘too many men’ penalty that followed moments later. SKA, inevitably, cashed in: Sergei Plotnikov converted the power play, and the game tipped irrevocably away from the home team. Karpov, Nikolai Prokhorkin and Ilya Kovalchuk all scored for the visitor; Nikita Gusev, Sergei Kalinin and Pavel Datsyuk each had two assists. Matej Stransky got the other goal for the host.
The 245th meeting of these old rivals went the way of CSKA – but Dynamo will take heart from a big improvement compared with match-up #244. Just two weeks ago, the Blue-and-Whites were embarrassed in a 1-6 home loss against the Army Men; here, things were far more competitive.
Initially, though, CSKA might have felt a repeat of that scoreline was on the cards. The first period was almost like a training exercise as the home team dominated the shot count 20-1. However, Dynamo goalie Ivan Bocharov was in fine form, and only Anton Burdasov’s power play goal got past him.
Reprieved in the first period, Dynamo drew level in a far more even middle session. Bocharov even played a role in his team’s goal, collecting an assist on Andrei Alexeyev’s power play marker. That effort, though, was all about a superb pass from Ilya Nikulin, going from blue line to blue line and splitting the home defense.
The final session was more like the first. CSKA once again raised its game, and the shot count was heavily in the home team’s favor. Bocharov was kept busy, but was beaten thanks to a looping deflection off a Valery Nichushkin shot. The goalie scrambled to block that attempt, but could only watch as the rebound returned to the CSKA man for a simple finish. Dynamo’s Andrei Kuteikin looked for an equalizer with a trademark cannon of a shot from the red line, but Ilya Sorokin was up to the task. Kirill Kaprizov wrapped up the points for the home team late on; CSKA unbeaten since the opening day.
Nigel Dawes took his goal tally to 10 for the season, extending his hot streak to five games as Barys put Dinamo to the sword.
Dawes opened the scoring in the sixth minute and Darren Dietz doubled the advantage before the first intermission. Dietz, a summer signing for Barys, looks to join the ranks of the club’s productive defensemen: a goal and an assist tonight takes him to 10 points for the season so far, moving him ahead of Kevin Dallman as the top-scoring D-man.
The middle stanza saw Barys hit four more. Marty St. Pierre and Nikita Mikhailis combined twice to create markers for Konstantin Pushkaryov and Roman Savchenko before Dawes got his second of the night and Linden Vey wrapped it up in the 40th minute. The final session was damage limitation for the host, and Dinamo came through without any further goals allowed. Henrik Karlsson claimed a shut-out with 21 saves.
Torpedo edged past Dinamo Minsk in a tight game in Nizhny Novgorod.
Both teams were encouraged after snapping long losing streaks ahead of this game, but it was Torpedo that went ahead in the first session. Dinamo shaded the play, but Renat Mamashev got the only goal on a power play in the 19th minute.
The visitor responded in kind early in the second when Evgeny Kovyrshin tied the scores on a Dinamo power play. But long-serving Torpedo forward Vladimir Galuzin claimed the game-winner in the 34th minute.
Last time out, Salavat Yulaev was shell-shocked by three goals from Barys in the last minute of play. Here, though, Erkka Westerlund’s team took control of the game in the closing stages to secure a road win.
The visitor didn’t have everything its own way, though. Ivan Petrakov celebrated his KHL debut with the opening goal just eight minutes into his top-flight career to give Vityaz the lead. However, Salavat responded through Linus Omark and Alexander Loginov scored the only goal of the second period to give the away team the lead.
Petrakov’s eye-catching debut continued with an assist on Alexander Pankov’s equalizer early in the third, but Salavat would not be denied. Omark set up Teemu Hartikainen for the game-winner and Vyacheslav Solodukhin found the empty net in the last second.
It took overtime to separate Slovan and Neftekhimik after a 3-3 tie in Bratislava. Pavel Kulikov grabbed the game winner for the visitor with just 10 seconds left before a shoot-out, claiming his first of the season to snap a three-game losing streak for Andrei Nazarov’s team.
Slovan had rallied from 1-3 down to claim a point in the third period on goals from Nick Ebert and Marek Viedensky. That was Viedensky’s second of the game: earlier, he put Slovan up in the fourth minute.
But Neftekhimik hit back with two goals in 16 seconds to take the lead in the 14th minute. Ildar Shiksatdarov tied it up with an unassisted effort, swatting down a bouncing puck before shooting home from between the hash marks. Moments later, Dan Sexton made it 2-1. Chad Rau extended the advantage early in the second, but it wasn’t enough to settle the outcome in regulation.
East: Chudinov scores from his own half, Ufa takes its chances. March 20 playoffs 20 March 2019, 20:30