Eastern Conference leader Ak Bars allowed six goals in Yaroslavl as Lokomotiv steamed to victory. SKA recovered from Wednesday’s loss at home to HC Sochi, defeating Salavat Yulaev in St. Petersburg, but Neftekhimik suffered a sixth defeat in seven games. Dynamo Moscow went to a shoot-out for the second game running and was victorious once again at home to Sochi.
Since appointing Dmitry Kvartalnov as head coach, Lokomotiv’s fortunes have enjoyed an upswing. Friday’s victory was the third in four games under the new boss as Loko impressively defeated Eastern Conference leader Ak Bars.
The home team took an early lead when Daniil Apalkov fired home a wrist shot as Ak Bars struggled to clear after a face-off, but it was the second period that really decided the course of the game. Alexander Polunin converted Rushan Rafikov’s pass to double the lead, then Yegor Korshkov added two more as Loko jumped to a 4-0 advantage.
Andrei Markov got a goal back for Ak Bars as the second intermission approached and the veteran defenseman had a helper as Mikhail Glukhov made it 2-4 after 47 minutes. For a moment, the fightback seemed to be on, but Dmitry Lugin settled home nerves when he stuffed home the rebound from Denis Alexeyev’s shot a couple of minutes later. Jakub Nakladal completed an emphatic victory with Loko’s sixth of the night.
Torpedo has been earning a reputation as a team that edges low-scoring games, and an early Kaspars Daugavins strike secured three points at home to Spartak.
Torpedo’s miserly defense allowed just 16 shots on Ivan Lisutin’s net; the goalie duly collected his third shut-out of the campaign.
Severstal strengthened its position in the playoff places with a victory over rock bottom Dinamo Riga.
The first period was evenly matched and goalless, but the home team got on top in the second. Pavel Chernov opened the scoring in the 25th minute and, 10 minutes later, Alexander Yevseyenkov made it 2-0 on the power play.
SKA welcomed captain Pavel Datsyuk back to the line-up and the magic man helped to conjure up a narrow win over Salavat Yulaev.
Datsyuk scored SKA’s second goal on the night, putting the team in front after Joonas Kemppainen gave Salavat Yulaev a first-period lead. Jarno Koskiranta cancelled that one out, before Datsyuk collected a Vladislav Gavrikov pass behind the net and swung out to slide a backhander across the face of Andrei Kareyev and into the far corner.
The visitor, seeking to avenge a 6-1 drubbing on home ice at the start of the month, wasn’t done: Kemppainen got his second of the time to tie it up in the 44th minute. But SKA had seen its last game slip away and was not about to make the same mistake twice. Sergei Plotnikov got a power play goal to make it 3-2 and Sergei Kalinin added a fourth as Patrik Hersley collected his third assist of the night.
Mikhail Varnakov was Dynamo’s hero in Wednesday’s win over Ak Bars, and the forward was at it again with a last-minute equalizer here. That set the scene for the Muscovites’ second shoot-out win in a row, with Ivan Igumnov beating Konstantin Barulin in the decisive duel.
Earlier, the Blue-and-Whites moved into a strong position on goals from Dmitry Kazionov and Sakari Salminen, while Sochi also had to adjust to loss of starting goalie Dmitry Shikin, ejected from the game for slashing shortly before Salminen’s power play strike.
But the visitor hit back with three goals in four minutes, and Alexei Tsvetkov led the way against his former club. Seconds after he put Sochi on the board, Ivan Larichev tied the scores before Andrei Ivanov’s power play goal made it 3-2 in the 36th minute.
Sochi got within 55 seconds of victory, but Varnakov had other ideas and the visitor had to be content with a solitary point.
Dinamo recovered from an early set back to take all three points at home to Neftekhimik.
In the second period there were fewer penalties, but Dinamo’s Yegor Sharangovich managed to convert a power play chance to make it 3-1 after Alexander Kogalev had given the Belarusians the lead. Sharangovich, 19, potted his third goal in six games as he settles into his rookie season in the KHL. It left Neftekhimik on a run of just one victory in seven, having lost just once in its previous seven games.