A 6-1 hammering of Lokomotiv took SKA to 17 consecutive wins, one game away from equalling Avangard’s KHL record, established in 2010-11. Nikita Gusev was the star man with four goals in his team’s latest triumph. Elsewhere, Anatoly Yemelin made it two wins in two as head coach of Ugra, Barys saw starting goalie Henrik Karlsson ejected from the game but still shut out Neftekhimik, and Dinamo Minsk enjoyed a crushing 5-1 victory over Dynamo Moscow.
Avtomobilist climbed to third in the Eastern Conference thanks to this win at Admiral – but had to recover from 0-2 down after Admiral grabbed two quick goals early in the game.
The home team scored twice in the 16th minute, shortly after failing to create much during a four-minute power play. Damir Zhafyarov broke the deadlock and Dmitry Sayustov doubled the advantage within 59 seconds.
But Avto got one back within a minute through Yegor Milovzorov and quickly tied the game in the second period through Denis Mingaleyev. The winning goals came late: in the 53rd minute, Alexei Vasilevsky put the visitor in front and with two minutes left Ilya Krikunov wrapped up Avtomobilist’s fifth win in seven games.
Appointing Anatoly Yemelin as Ugra’s new head coach is paying dividends: after two games behind the bench, the new man has produced two wins. Tonight’s success came at the club that dismissed Yemelin two seasons earlier; revenge served as ice cold as the nerves of shoot-out hero Pavel Varfolomeyev.
As at Sochi on Saturday, Ugra forced a tie in regulation. Linus Omark gave Salavat an early lead but the home team failed to build on that platform and Varfolomeyev levelled the scores at the start of the third.
Then the youngster delivered in the shoot-out. In Sochi he converted a penalty shot in overtime to win the game, here scored from both his attempts against Ben Scrivens. That secured a second successive win for Ugra.
Barys handed a home defeat to in-form Neftekhimik after grabbing two empty net goals on the banks of the Kama river.
But the shut-out for the visitor was shared: starting goalie Henrik Karlsson was ejected from the game early in the second period for displacing the goal frame on 23:24. The Swede’s furious reaction to the penalty call earned him a 10-minute misconduct penalty; when he angrily pushed the net away for a second time, he picked up a further punishment and left the ice. Sergei Kudryavtsev came on to replace him, and immediately had to face down almost a minute of Neftekhimik’s 5-on-3 advantage.
By that time, though, Barys was already a goal to the good thanks to Nigel Dawes, who converted a rare chance for the visitor midway through the opening session. Kudryatsev continued Karlsson’s good work between the piping for the rest of the game – between them, the Barys goalies made 42 saves – and in the closing stages Barys wrapped up the win with empty net goals from Dawes and Linden Vey to compound Neftekhimik’s frustration.
With SKA closing in on another KHL all-time record, this week presented the team with its toughest challenges to date. Away at Lokomotiv, last season’s Western Conference final, had all the hallmarks of a tricky assignment and so it proved … for five minutes. An early power play for the host took SKA’s momentum away, and Loko maintained its good start to take the lead through Vladislav Kartayev on 4:30. But that was the best bit of the night for the Railwaymen.
Nikita Gusev proved to be the key man in this one, scoring four goals as SKA powered to its 17th successive victory. He began with the equalizer in the 17th minute, dancing away from two defensemen and outwitting Alexei Murygin with a backhand finish that had echoes of his team-mate, Pavel Datsyuk. SKA finished the opening session in front thanks to an Ilya Kovalchuk thunderbolt just before the intermission, and Loko’s hopes were all but over.
Gusev extended the lead early in the second, cashing in on a defensive error from Yegor Korshkov. Then he completed his hat-trick with the help of a ricochet off the helmet of Rushan Rafikov. Early in the third, he added a fourth to make it 5-1 before Sergei Plotnikov added a power play goal against his former club to complete the rout.
Sibir started well, and took a first-period lead through Vyacheslav Osnovin, but the middle stanza belonged to Tkachyov. He scored twice, either side of the midway point, and was assisted on each occasion by recent signing Rob Klinkhammer.
Arkhipov got his second of the season to extend that lead with 10 minutes left, but Sergei Konkov reduced the arrears late on. Tkachyov’s eventful evening ended on a slightly sour note: with 15 seconds left he picked up a misconduct penalty after a high hit on Nikolai Demidov, but it was too late for Sibir to force overtime.
A second-period storm set Avangard on its way to a convincing victory at a Sochi team that has now lost four in a row.
The opening exchanges offered little hint of what was to come, with only Pyotr Khokhryakov’s power play goal in the 12th minute separating the two teams. But the next 20 minutes was a very different story. Avangard raised its game on offense and rattled in four unanswered goals. Andrei Stas got two of them, Jonas Ahnelov and Ansel Galimov added one each. Sochi replaced Konstantin Barulin with Dmitry Shikin, but to little effect.
With the game won, there was less intensity to the final session. Erik Gustafsson added a sixth for the visitor in the 57th minute, while goalie Oleg Shilin made 28 saves to claim a shut-out as he stood in for Dominik Furch.
The early weeks of the season have not been too kind to Dinamo Minsk, with head coach Gordie Dwyer seeing his team struggle to get the results that performances have often deserved.
Tonight, though, it all came right in Minsk. Quinton Howden, one of the club’s summer signings, fired a hat-trick – doubling his goal tally for the season – and the Bison stampeded to a 5-1 win over their Moscow namesake.
Howden got the vital game-tying goal in the 13th minute, cancelling out Vladimir Bryukvin’s opener for the visitor, and added further markers in the second and third periods as Dinamo took charge of the game. In between, Alexander Kulakov’s power play effort gave the home team the lead at the first intermission. To finish off a satisfying night’s work, Andrei Stepanov added a fifth in the last minute. Dinamo moves to within three points of a playoff place.