East: Chudinov scores from his own half, Ufa takes its chances. March 20 playoffs20 March 2019, 20:30
The big game of the day saw Lokomotiv edge out Metallurg Magnitogorsk in overtime after a lively 2-2 tie in Yaroslavl. Meanwhile, the biggest win of the day came in St. Petersburg, where SKA hammered Avtomobilist to make it 10 wins from 10 this season. Closest rival CSKA needed a shoot-out to win at Amur, Kunlun picked up its first home success of the season against Slovan but Dynamo Moscow fell to a third consecutive defeat at home to Traktor.
Mika Niemi’s first goal of the season was enough to separate Jokerit and Admiral after a goalless game in Vladivostok.
Niemi struck in the second minute of overtime, collecting John Norman’s feed and squeezing off a shot that went between two defensemen and finally beat Ivan Nalimov. For Nalimov, who had made 28 saves, it was an unhappy end to a great performance; his opposite number Ryan Zapolski collected the win with 29 stops and a shut-out.
The game’s other big incident came midway through the second period when Admiral’s Viktor Alexandrov and Jokerit’s Masi Marjamaki collided heavily in center ice. The Finn was given 4+10 for spearing; Alexandrov, despite picking up an injury, was ejected from the game for kneeing.
CSKA made it nine wins in a row, but for the second game running it could not finish the job in regulation time. The Army Men marched into a 2-0 lead, only for Amur’s Ushenin brothers to tie the game. Andrei Kuzmenko then got the only goal of the shoot-out to send the points back to Moscow.
Anton Burdasov opened the scoring in the fifth minute firing into the roof of the net from the top of the face-off circle. Then Valery Nichushkin doubled the lead, hooking home the rebound after Juha Metsola lost track of a thundering shot from Artyom Blazhiyevsky.
Amur responded with a power play goal from Vladislav Ushenin in the 34th minute and a similar combination late in the third saw his twin Vyacheslav make it 2-2 and take the game into overtime.
Magnus Hellberg made 37 saves to backstop Kunlun to its first home victory of the season. The Swede’s heroics, coupled with goals from Andrei Kostitsyn and Gilbert Brule, delighted the home crowd in Shanghai.
Kostitsyn got his first for Red Star after joining from HC Sochi over the summer. He struck late in the first period with a powerful effort that Marek Mazanec could only slow on its journey into the net. Brule, who switched Chelyabinsk for China last week, potted his second goal in three games for his new club when he tucked away Wojtek Wolski’s pass to convert a 5-on-3 power play in the second period.
Birthday boy Brandon DeFazio thought he’d added a third before the intermission, but his crucial touch on Brett Bellemore’s shot was ruled out for a perceived kicking motion. That galavanized Slovan, and the visitor had by far the better of the third period. But Hellberg held firm and Kunlun prevailed.
Two goals from Maxim Afinogenov saw Vityaz edge past Sibir in a nine-goal thriller. Afinogenov the decisive strike in the 57thminute, frustrating the host after it had hauled itself back to 4-4 in a game where it never held a lead.
It stayed that way until the intermission, but the middle stanza saw five goals shared between the teams. Adam Polasek got Sibir back into contention in the 23rd minute before a series of penalties resulted in a rash of four power play markers. Vojtech Mozik made it 3-1 for Vityaz before going to the box to watch Sergei Konkov pull a goal back for the host. Mozik then assisted on Afinogenov’s first, but Patrik Zackrisson ensured it would be a one-goal game going into the final session.
Vyacheslav Osnovin tied it up with 10 minutes left, and suddenly Sibir could see a path to victory. But Afinogenov barred the home team’s way, wrongfooting Alexander Salak after an attacking face-off to give Vityaz its first win in three.
The big game of the day lived up to its billing as Loko and Magnitka traded blows beside the Volga. Neither team had enjoyed quite the fluent start to the season they might have anticipated, but with Metallurg building a four-game winning streak the momentum seemed to favor the visitor.
And it was Magnitka who showed first, taking the lead in the 11th minute on its first power play. Nick Schaus’ diagonal pass presented Tomas Filippi with the chance, and the Czech forward made no mistake from close range. Loko levelled late in the session, Denis Osipov getting the vital touch on Yegor Korshkov’s shot from the blue line and deceiving Vasily Koshechkin.
That gave the home side something to build on, and at the start of the second period Loko looked the more likely scorer. Jakub Nakladal tested Koshechkin, Denis Mosalyov hit the piping and Petri Kontiola went one-on-one with the goalie, only to be denied. Then came the counter-punch: a defensive error presented Denis Kazionov with a breakaway chance and Metallurg was in front again. This time, the lead lasted less than a minute. Kontiola’s shot, Alexander Kadeikin on the rebound, and it was 2-2.
The third period saw Loko kill a major penalty after Vladislav Kartayev was ejected for a high hit. Metallurg could not take advantage of that opportunity and the game went to overtime.
Finally, Lokomotiv found a way to get ahead: on 64:18, Mosalyov grabbed the decisive goal. It was the first time the home team had taken the lead on the night, but it came at the perfect moment to secure the win.
It took just 10 minutes for SKA to secure its 10th successive victory. In that time, the defending champion scored three times as Avtomobilist’s hopes of becoming the first team to beat the Army Men were blown away.
In truth, the visitor did little to help its cause. Two penalties in the opening minutes gave SKA a 5-on-3 power play and the host ruthlessly capitalized. Ilya Kovalchuk opened the scoring before assisting on a goal for Alexander Barabanov. In the 10th minute, Kovi was at it again, forcing a save out of Vladimir Sokhatsky before Barabanov potted the rebound.
Francis Pare got Avtomobilist on the scoreboard, but Nikita Gusev scored twice either side of the first intermission – both assisted by David Rundblad – to maintain SKA’s dominance. The halfway mark brought a second goal for Kovalchuk, with Barabanov among the helpers as Avto’s evening went from bad to worse.
In the third period, Alexander Shchemerov got his first goal of the season for Avtomobilist, but the 20-year-old defenseman’s effort made little difference to the final score.
Richard Gynge got his first goal for Traktor – and helped send one of his former clubs spinning to a third successive loss.
The Swedish forward made his KHL debut in Dynamo’s colors back in the 2012-13 season, but finished that campaign at Lev Prague. Tonight, in his second appearance since joining Traktor from Kunlun, he got his team’s second goal in an impressive win.
Traktor had the puck in Alexander Yeryomenko’s net early on, but the goal was ruled out due to encroachment. But there was no doubt about the way affairs were progressing when Paul Szczechura and Gynge scored two goals in a minute to put Traktor in control. Igor Polygalov added a third in the 23rd minute, and Dynamo’s prospects looked bleak.
A third-period goal from Andrei Alexeyev added some consolation for the home time but could not impact upon the outcome. An empty net goal from Traktor’s Alexander Rybakov sealed the deal for the visitor.
Skille has found an instant chemistry with his North American line-mates Quinton Howden and Justin Fontain, and that combination delivered on the power play in the second period as Howden made it 2-0.
Evgeny Lisovets had given the Bison the lead in the 22nd minute, again on the PP, as Lada’s unhappy run stretched to six games without a win. Enroth finished with 20 saves to stretch his unbeaten run to 146:05.