Nizhny Novgorod (17:00)
Vadim Shipachyov’s successful return to SKA continued with two goals and an assist in his team’s 4-3 win over Ugra. Spartak set a club record of six straight wins in the KHL to strengthen its grip on a playoff spot, while Traktor climbed into the top eight in the East. The other game saw Vityaz win a roller-coaster clash at Slovan thanks to Borna Rendulic’s overtime strike.
Two goals from Vadim Shipachyov saw SKA to another victory – but Ugra pushed the defending champion hard in the final period.
Shipachyov’s first game back in Petersburg after his return to the KHL began with an assist on Ilya Kovalchuk’s opening goal in the fourth minute. That was the only notable action of the opening frame as SKA’s 19-year-old goalie Alexei Melnichuk made his first start for the home team.
SKA took control in the second period. Alexander Barabanov extended the lead early in the session, then Shipachyov struck twice, either side of Niclas Burstrom’s reply for Ugra. But the visitor, which lost 9-1 at home to the Army Men back in September, almost got back into the game towards the end. Tobias Viklund pulled one back in the 41st minute, then a power play goal from Pavel Varfolomeyev made it 4-3 with five minutes to play. It wasn’t quite enough; Melnichuk held firm to claim his first career win.
Spartak made it six wins in a row to establish its longest winning streak in the KHL. The Red-and-Whites also climbed to sixth in the Western Conference after seeing off Avtomobilist.
Vadim Yepanchintsev’s team suffered an early jolt, going behind to Dwight King’s seventh-minute opener. But two goals in 15 seconds saw Artyom Podshendyalov and Ryan Stoa put the home side ahead and ended Jakub Kovar’s evening in Avto’s net.
Kovar’s replacement, Vladimir Sokhatsky, also gave up a couple of quickfire goals when Alexander Dergachyov and Lukas Radil stretched the lead to 4-1 early in the middle frame. Evgeny Chesalin pulled one back, but Dmitry Kalinin’s power play strike ensured a comfortable finish for the host.
Traktor moves to eighth in the Eastern Conference after coming from behind to win at basement club Dinamo Riga.
The game was scoreless until the midway mark, but Miks Indrasis converted a power play to give Dinamo the lead in the 32nd minute. That lasted until Alexander Rybakov tied the scores just before the second intermission.
Vityaz snapped a four-game losing streak, but had to do it the hard way in Bratislava. Not only did the visitor trail 2-0 and 3-1 before moving ahead, it also allowed a last-minute equalizer to take the game into overtime. Borna Rendulic got the decider two minutes into the extras.
The first period belonged to Slovan. Marek Viedensky put the home team in front, and Zach Boychuk added two more, either side of a reply from Dmitry Semin. But the middle frame saw Alexander Nikulin and Artyom Shvets-Rogovoi tie the game, and when Alexei Kopeikin put Vityaz up for the first time in the 53rd minute, it looked like the end for Slovan.
Michal Repik had other ideas, though, firing home a one-timer late on to tie things up at 4-4, but Slovan could not complete the recovery in overtime.