The day began with two close games in the Far East, where SKA edged Amur 3-2 and Dynamo was left hanging on for a 5-4 win at Admiral. Elsewhere, Dwight King and Alexander Sharov scored doubles to set up wins for Avtomobilist and Traktor respectively, while Jhonas Enroth and Vasily Koshechkin’s shut-outs paved the way for Dinamo Minsk and Metallurg Magnitogorsk to claim victory. Spartak recorded a fourth successive win, beating Lada 4-2 in Moscow.
Trailing by three with five minutes to play, Admiral gambled on withdrawing goalie Ivan Nalimov – and almost pulled off an incredible fightback.
The home team switched to six skaters on 55:03 following a penalty against Dynamo’s Vladislav Yefremov. Soon, it was 6-on-3 when Yakov Rylov picked up a double minor. Then the goals came. Viktor Alexandrov made it 3-5, Vladimir Tkachyov pulled it back to a one-goal game. With almost two minutes left, the home fans roared on their team, Admiral continued to push with six skaters, and Dynamo was left clinging on for the final seconds of an absorbing encounter.
The hooter came just too soon for Admiral, though. Daniil Tarasov’s two goals either side of the second intermission were enough to see Dynamo over the line. Earlier, however, the visitor had seemed to be on course for a comfortable win as rookie Alexander Petunin impressed. In only his fourth appearance in the KHL, he had a goal and two assists as the Blue-and-Whites opened a 3-0 first-period lead. Another youngster, Dmitry Sidlyarov, also potted his first KHL goal, while Igor Ignatushkin got the third. Dmitry Sayustov got two for Admiral in the second period to begin the fightback before the final stanza delivered that rush of last-gasp excitement.
Amur’s winning run came to an end, but the Khabarovsk team put in a brave performance against SKA. The host outshot the league leader 32-23, and threw everything at Mikko Koskinen in the third period, but could not claw back the deficit despite Alexandre Picard’s first goal in the KHL.
SKA took the lead early on through Dinar Khafizullin, only to see Oleg Li tie it up with a short-handed goal. In the second period, the visitor regained the lead through Yegor Yakovlev and Sergei Kalinin’s power play goal at the start of the third seemed to put the game to bed.
But Amur refused to yield, and took the play to SKA in the final stanza. Shots rained in on Koskinen’s net, and when former Blue Jacket Picard found the net with four minutes left, there was genuine hope that the home team could salvage something from the game. It wasn’t to be: SKA held firm, Amur remains outside the playoff spots.
All the scoring came in the second period, with Dinamo taking control of the game after the home team shaded the opening session. Andrei Stepanov opened the scoring in the 28th minute, exchanging passes with Dmitry Korobov and finishing off his colleague’s slick stick-handling after Red Star tamely gave up possession in center ice. Then Dinamo’s Canadian combination converted a power play chance late in the middle session when Marc-Andre Gragnani and Justin Fontain combined to set up Quinton Howden for the second goal.
In the final stanza, Dinamo was able to lockdown the game and – apart from one decent chance for Wojtek Wolski – Red Star had few opportunities to get back into the game.
Traktor moved up to eighth in the Eastern Conference thanks to a convincing win at Torpedo.
The visitor took a firm grip on the game midway through the first period with goals from Artyom Borodkin and Alexander Sharov. Richard Gynge added a third as the game approached its midway point before Torpedo got on the board late in the middle session with a power play goal from Ivan Zakharchuk.
That wasn’t enough to spark a fightback, though. Sharov got his second goal of the evening, and Vitaly Kravtsov his second assist, as Traktor eased to victory.
Dwight King scored twice to help Avtomobilist to victory in Cherepovets.
King, twice a Stanley Cup winner, has not always found life easy during his first season in the KHL. However, his double strike today followed a goal in Tuesday’s win at Torpedo, suggesting that the former LA power forward is starting to adapt to life in Russia.
His goals helped his team jump to a 4-0 lead in the first two sessions, with Yegor Milovzorov and Evgeny Chesalin also finding the net. Severstal threatened a fightback early in the third when Alexei Ugarov and Daniil Vovchenko reduced the deficit, but Alexei Mikhnov’s power play goal snuffed out any hopes of a revival and sent the host spinning to its first loss in five games.
Spartak made it four wins in a row, but remains one point outside the playoff places in the Western Conference.
This game began brightly for the Moscow team, with early goals Artyom Podshendyalov and Lukas Radil giving the Red-and-Whites a stranglehold inside eight minutes. Dmitry Kalinin added a third before the first intermission, and everything seemed straightforward as the home team dominated in all areas.
Lada, though, hit back in the middle frame. Evgeny Ivannikov replaced Anton Krasotkin in the Motormen’s net, and the team responded with a far more assured performance. That earned its reward late in the session when Rafael Akhmetov and Alexei Mastryukov scored in quick succession to put the game in the balance going into the third.
That was Spartak’s cue to turn up the heat. Lada mustered just three shots in the final stanza as the home team regained its early dominance. Once Maxim Trunyov added a fourth goal in the 57th minute, the result was secure.
Metallurg picked up a much-needed win at struggling Dinamo, helped by Vitaly Koshechkin’s first shut-out of the season.
Koshechkin made 22 saves, and along with his opposite number Janis Kalnins, he kept the game at a stalemate through two periods. It wasn’t until the 45th minute that Metallurg made the breakthrough. It came from a shorthanded goal, with Oskar Osala intercepting a pass in his own end, riding out a despairing hook by defenseman Anssi Salmela and winning his duel with Kalnins.
Riga tried to get back into it, and enjoyed a significant territorial advantage in a penalty-strewn session. However, Magnitka’s power play was clinical. Evgeny Timkin and Jan Kovar punished Dinamo late on, Chris Lee assisting both times to collect his first points since returning to the club.