Andy Potts,
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Both of last season’s Gagarin Cup finalists suffered 1-3 home losses against some of the KHL’s underdogs. SKA, which had previously not lost a single game in regulation, dropped a 1-3 verdict against a Spartak team liberally sprinkled with former Petersburg players. Metallurg Magnitogorsk suffered its fifth loss in six outings at home to Lada – and duly announced the departure of head coach Ilya Vorobyov. Salavat Yulaev left it late to defeat Kunlun in China – the host slips out of the playoff spots to be replaced with Traktor. Lokomotiv downed Torpedo 4-1, Admiral blanked Sochi for a 4-0 win and Dynamo Moscow edged Dinamo Riga in a shoot-out.

Nalimov blanks Sochi

Admiral Vladivostok 4 HC Sochi 0 (2-0, 1-0, 1-0)

Ivan Nalimov made 34 saves to frustrate Sochi and earn Admiral a second successive victory.

While Sochi’s forwards failed to solve the goalie, the visitor suffered from penalty trouble, allowing three power play goals as it spun to defeat. Dmitry Sayustov got the first, opening the scoring after 15 minutes before Vadim Krasnoslobodtsev made it 2-0 with the only even-strength marker of the night.

Sochi could not stay out of the box, though, and Vladimir Tkachyov made it 3-0 midway through the game before Pavel Makarenko took advantage of a double minor against Evgeny Lapenkov to complete the scoring.

Larsen’s late show

Kunlun Red Star 2 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 3 (0-1, 1-1, 1-1)

Philip Larsen struck with 53 seconds left to give Salavat Yulaev a hard-fought win in Shanghai.

His power play goal, powerfully struck from just inside the blue line, shattered home hopes and meant that Gilbert Brule’s double was all in vain. Brule had tied the game at 2-2 moments earlier, stuffing the puck home from close range after a Pavel Vorobei shot got caught up in a defenseman’s skates.

Earlier, Igor Makarov gave the visitor a first-period lead, but Brule made it 1-1 following a goaltending blunder in the second. Ben Scrivens made a mess of clearing Vorobei’s dump-and-chase; Brule swatted the puck down to earth and fired into an empty net. However, Salavat Yulaev regained the lead when Joonas Kemppainen put away the rebound from a Linus Omark shot.

Traktor climbs into playoff places

Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 2 Traktor Chelyabinsk 3 OT (1-2, 1-0, 0-0, 0-1)

An overtime win lifted Traktor up to eighth in the Eastern Conference, with Igor Polygalov’s goal making the difference in Yekaterinburg. The goal came when Linus Videll battled away from a defenseman behind the net and picked out a pass for the waiting Polygalov in front of the target.

Earlier Traktor had led twice: Alexander Chernikov’s early opener was cancelled out by Denis Kulyash before Alexander Sharov made it 2-1 in the 18th minute.

But the second period saw Michal Cajkovsky tie it up at 2-2 and Avto dominated the third without finding a way past Vasily Demchenko in the Traktor net.

Photo: 02.11.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. Avtomobilist (Yekaterinburg) - Traktor (Chelyabinsk)

Lada springs surprise in Magnitogorsk

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 1 Lada Togliatti 3 (0-1, 1-2, 0-0)

Magnitka’s uncertain season continues, with this defeat bringing an end to Ilya Vorobyov’s spell as head coach.

Lada inflicted a fifth defeat in six games on last season’s Gagarin Cup finalist and after the game a statement on the club’s official website announced president Viktor Rashnikov’s decision to replace the head coach.

The visitor took an early lead as Denis Zernov went ‘coast-to-coast’ in the sixth minute, and Metallurg never really recovered. Kirill Kapustin and Semyon Valuisky stretched the advantage to 3-0 before the midway mark, and Evgeny Timkin’s goal in reply could not spark a revival from the home team.

Metallurg is now just one point ahead of ninth-placed Kunlun in the Eastern Conference table. Viktor Kozlov will take over as interim head coach.

Four-goal flurry sinks Torpedo

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 4 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 1 (0-1, 4-0, 0-0)

This Volga derby was settled by a second-period flourish from the home team, with four unanswered goals putting the game beyond reach.

Torpedo had been the first to show, with Kaspars Daugavins opening the scoring in the eighth minute after Grigory Zheldakov fired in a shot from the blue line. But Loko had the better of the remainder of the opening session, and took control in the second.

Yegor Korshkov tied it up, emphatically converting Pavel Kraskovsky’s feed. Then Denis Mosalyov gave Loko the lead on the power play and Alexander Polunin turned home the rebound from Rushan Rafikov’s shot. When Yegor Averin fired home Mosalyov’s pass from behind the net, Loko had scored four goals in three-and-a-half minutes and the game was all but done.

Spartak stuns SKA

SKA St. Petersburg 1 Spartak Moscow 3 (0-0, 1-1, 0-2)

In-form Spartak claimed its most notable scalp of its current streak – and sent SKA spinning to its first defeat in regulation time this season.

The Red-and-Whites may still be outside the playoff places, but Vadim Yepanchintsev’s troops are putting together some of the most encouraging hockey seen at the club in several years and deservedly moved to six wins from seven games with this result.

The visitor frustrated the Army Men for long periods, and the game was still deadlocked deep into the second period. Then Alexander Khokhlachyov, a former SKA player, got the opening goal. The assists came from Alexander Dergachyov, who began this season in St. Petersburg, and Dmitry Kalinin, who spent five seasons beside the Neva.

Viktor Tikhonov quickly pulled SKA level, and the game was tied at 1-1 going into the final stanza, but then the old boys struck again. Dergachyov made it 2-1 a minute after the restart, confirming the old sporting maxim that a former player is the one to fear most when he beat Mikko Koskinen short side after a break down the right. Maxim Trunyov made it 3-1 with an unassisted goal and Spartak held on to record a memorable win.

Photo: 02.11.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. SKA (St.Petersburg) - Spartak (Moscow)

Bryukvin gives Dynamo a shoot-out win

Dynamo Moscow 2 Dinamo Riga 1 SO (0-0, 0-0, 1-1, 0-0, 1-0)

Dynamo needed a shoot-out to get past the league’s bottom club – but the two points lifted the Blue-and-Whites to sixth in the Western Conference.

The game remained goalless until the 51st minute, when Ilya Nikulin put the Muscovites in front on a 5-on-3 power play. But that lead lasted a mere 42 seconds: Dustin Boyd took a penalty for Dynamo, and within seven seconds Brandon McMillan had converted the power play to bring the Latvians level.

Riga killed a penalty in overtime, and came close to winning it in the shoot-out thanks to Danny Kristo’s successful attempt. But Boyd saved Dynamo with the team’s final effort before sudden death and Vladimir Bryukvin potted the winner.

Photo: 02.11.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. Dynamo (Moscow) - Dinamo (Riga)

Andy Potts,
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