It was a good night for the two Army clubs, as SKA and CSKA both eased to victories. Their positions at the top of the Western Conference were further strengthened by Jokerit’s overtime loss at home to Barys. In Bratislava, Slovan’s rookie forward Boris Sadecky scored a great goal, but still lost out to Lokomotiv. Two goalies enjoyed themselves against their former clubs: Ugra’s Ilya Proskuryakov denied Torpedo in a shoot-out, while Spartak’s Nikita Bespalov blanked Sibir.
Nigel Dawes got two more goals for Barys, taking his season’s tally to 24 and giving his team an overtime win in Finland.
In a game that was something of a shoot-out between the experienced Dawes and Jokerit’s star rookie Eeli Tolvanen, the Barys forward’s wiles made the difference in the extras. Both players had scored in regulation, both missed good chances in overtime, but Dawes kept his composure to slot home a Darren Dietz pass from the corner.
Earlier, Tolvanen gave Jokerit the lead in the 33rd minute, converting a power play with a fearsome one-timer that left Sergei Kudryavtsev with no chance in the Barys net. But the visitor hit back almost immediately. Artyom Likhotnikov tied the scores before Dawes got his first of the night to put Barys up in the 38th minute.
Kudryavtsev, given the nod ahead of ex-Jokerit goalie Henrik Karlsson, performed some third-period heroics as Jokerit piled on the pressure. He made 21 saves before Peter Regin beat him with 18 seconds left on the clock.
Artyom Bulyansky claimed the winner for Ugra as it edged Torpedo in a low-scoring game.
There was little between the sides until the 33rd minute, when Mikhail Grigoryev put the host 1-0 in front. That advantage endured until the closing minutes, when Alexander Ugolnikov tied the game and took us to overtime.
Ugra killed one further penalty before going into the shoot-out, and goalie Ilya Proskuryakov denied his former club by winning the four duels he faced. Bulyansky and Maxim Pestushko found the target at the other end; Ugra took the bonus point.
CSKA showed no sign of any hangover from Monday’s defeat against SKA as it outgunned Dinamo.
Alexander Popov opened the scoring in the ninth minute, converting the first power play chance of the game after Alexander Materukhin took a minor for slashing. Early in the second period, Ivan Telegin added a short-handed goal, picking the pocket of Dinamo’s Roman Dyukov as the defenseman looked to bring the puck up the ice. Mikhail Grigorenko quickly added a third before Charles Linglet got the visitor on the scoreboard.
Hopes of a recovery were quashed when the Dinamo power play misfired once again. This time it was Valery Nichushkin who profited, intercepting Justin Fontain’s pass and taking on the luckless Dyukov. The forward swung out wide, beat his marker and got up close with goalie Mikhail Karnaukhov before making it 4-1.
An impressive second period took SKA to a 4-2 victory at Vityaz as Oleg Znarok’s team shows no sign of dropping its relentless pace.
Despite the defeat, there was some encouragement for Vityaz. Borna Rendulic, the club’s recently-signed Croatian forward, got his first goal in the KHL. Rendulic, 25, began his career in the juniors at Medvescak Zagreb before moving to Finland to pursue a future at a higher level. The move paid off when he became the first Croatian player to appear in the NHL, making 14 appearances with Colorado Avalanche. He returned to Europe this season, making 14 appearances for Pelicans in Finland before coming to Russia.
However, his opening goal in this game was not enough for Vityaz. Viktor Tikhonov tied the scores late in the first period, putting away the rebound from a Sergei Plotnikov shot. Then came that middle-frame flurry: Alexei Semenov talked his way into trouble to leave Vityaz defending a 3-on-5 situation and SKA took the initiative. The home side killed its penalties, but the strain took its toll and Alexander Barabanov and Nikolai Prokhorkin scored twice in 90 seconds to open a 3-1 lead. Five minutes later, Vladislav Gavrikov added a fourth, and SKA was well on its way to another win.
Alexei Makeyev got one back for Vityaz early in the third, but there were no alarms for the defending champion as it saw out the game.
Goalie Nikita Bespalov had an evening to enjoy as he denied his former club, Sibir.
The 29-year-old made 34 saves in total to backstop his team to an impressive victory. Perhaps the highlight of his game arrived in the 55th minute when he stopped a Simon Onerud penalty shot.
At the other end, Ben Maxwell gave the Red-and-Whites a perfect start when he opened the scoring in the third minute. Alexander Khokhlachov converted a 5-on-3 power play to double the lead and Alexander Dergachyov got another power play goal to make it 3-0 just before the second intermission. Bespalov continued to thwart Sibir, and Vyacheslav Leshchenko rounded off the night with an empty-net goal.
Boris Sadecky, 20, got his first KHL goal for Slovan – but it wasn’t enough to save his team from defeat at home to Lokomotiv.
The youngster’s debut goal was a bit special: released down the left by Colby Genoway, he left Pavel Koledov all tied up before showing great composure to beat goalie Alexander Sudnitsin with a ‘between the legs’ finish.
Sadecky tied the game up at 2-2 in the third period, but the visitor recovered to win it in the 56th minute when Yegor Korshkov burst out from behind the net to feed Pavel Kraskovsky for the decisive goal.
Earlier, the teams traded power play goals in the first period. Zach Boychuk gave Slovan an early lead, but Brandon Kozun tied the game going into the first intermission. Then Daniil Apalkov made it 2-1 for Lokomotiv at the start of a second session that the visitor dominated. Sadecky’s equalizer gave Slovan hope, but it wasn’t enough to stop Loko.