Jokerit, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, posted its 11th consecutive victory on Sunday to match the club record. Meanwhile, former Jokerit head coach Erkka Westerlund was relieved to see his Salavat Yulaev team win 3-0 at home to Sibir and break a run of five losses in six games. Sergei Mozyakin found the net for the 490th time as Metallurg won at Admiral, and Amur made it three out of four with victory over Lada.
Metallurg continued its return to form with a comfortable victory at Admiral, overcoming something of a bogey team along the way.
It was Magnitka’s first win in Vladivostok for three years: the last two seasons saw Sergei Mozyakin & Co shut out on the Pacific coast. This time, determined to make amends, Metallurg pressed from the start and earned a 5-on-3 power play in the 13thminute. It took just five seconds to convert that chance, with Mozyakin smashing home Jan Kovar’s feed for his 490th goal in Russian league action. Admiral had to continue with three players – Oscars Bartulis was sitting out a double minor for high sticking, and the goal came within the first two minutes of that punishment. And so Tomas Filippi was able to make it 2-0 on the rebound from Matt Ellison’s shot.
Amur made it three wins out of four at home to Lada, which remains rooted to the foot of the Eastern Conference.
Another power play goal broke the deadlock in the second period when Oleg Li put Amur back in front, and this time there was no answer from Lada. Third-period markers from Pavel Dedunov and Alexei Byvaltsev sealed the home victory.
The word was that Salavat Yulaev was in crisis. Five losses in its last six games, including a painful 1-6 reverse at home to SKA. Questions asked about the coaching staff, and whether they had the nous to turn the situation around. A game against Sibir that could see the Ufa team drop out of the playoff places.
On Sunday, though, Salavat Yulaev came up with the answers. A shut-out victory – and a dominant performance – goes a long way towards calming the critics. The home team delivered from the off. In the first period, Salavat allowed just three shots at Ben Scrivens’ net. At the other end, the team scored twice through Enver Lisin on the power play and Alexander Loginov during a 5-on-3 advantage. Sibir, such a tough nut for SKA to crack on Friday, looked off color.
The second period was similar, with the home team again having much the better of the play. Anton Lazarev added a third goal in the 28th minute, and the outcome was almost beyond question. Sibir improved, shading the final stanza without seriously threatening Scrivens, but this game was all about Salavat Yulaev.
Three power play goals in the second period took Jokerit to an 11th consecutive victory, equalling a club record in the process.
After a goalless opening, the visitor went in front in the 21st minute on a power play that carried over from the first period. Olli Palola got the goal off Brian O’Neill’s pass. A double minor for Maxim Rasseikin midway through the session gave the Finns the chance to extend their lead, and Danish international Niklas Jensen duly obliged when he forced the puck home after a flurry of shots on Jakub Kovar. The power play continued, and Eeli Tolvanen made it 3-0 when he was offered another chance to show off his laser-like wrister.
Home hopes briefly flickered back to life when Michal Cajkovsky pulled a goal back in the 46th minute, but there was little sign of anyone stopping Jokerit’s run.