It was back the 1980s for Spartak, which celebrated its annual ‘retro-day’ with an 8-2 victory over Slovan to recall its 80s Spengler Cup successes against European opposition. Elsewhere, Metallurg spoiled Vladimir Yurzinov’s first outing as head coach of Sibir by claiming a shoot-out win and Avtomobilist moves into third in the Eastern Conference with a win over Avangard.
The first Far East derby of the season went to Amur thanks to Vyacheslav Litovchenko’s late goal.
The 27-year-old scored his seventh goal of the season to snap a 1-1 tie and, like his previous tally in an overtime success at Vityaz, it proved enough to win the game.
Earlier, Admiral had taken the lead when Vladimir Butuzov struck in the 28th minute. However, Vladislav Ushenin tied it up in the second period of a tight encounter. The result lifts Amur to within a point of eighth-placed Salavat Yulaev, increasing hopes that the team might make the playoffs for only the second time in the KHL era.
The troubled times continue for Barys as the Kazakh team dropped to seventh behind Traktor following Saturday’s loss in Chelyabinsk.
There was little between the teams in a scoreless opening frame, but after the intermission Traktor raised its game. Alexander Chernikov’s goal early in the second period gave the home team confidence, and it produced a more dominant performance thereafter. The improvement was capped by Nick Bailen’s power play goal in the 37th minute.
Paul Szczechura made it 3-0 early in the third, scoring on a delayed penalty after his shot took a deflection off a defenseman. Then he and Bailen combined to set up Linus Videll for a long-range effort to make it 4-0, again on the power play.
Avtomobilist moved to third in the Eastern Conference with a win over Chernyshev Division leader Avangard – and in doing so, highlighted the relative strengths of the two divisions in the East.
Although the Omsk team enjoys second spot in the Conference due to its position in its division, Avangard’s 66 points would place it a lowly fifth in the Kharlamov Division, behind Ak Bars, Avto, Neftekhimik and Metallurg.
Even though this finished with a one-goal margin, Avtomobilist might feel it could have won more comfortably. When Francis Pare scored his second of the day in the 58th minute, that made it 3-0 to the home team. Avangard belatedly hit back, with Teddy Purcell and Ilya Mikheyev finding the net in the dying seconds, but time ran out before the visitor could achieve a spectacular recovery. That flurry also spoiled Jakub Kovar’s time in goal: the Czech made 43 saves in total, and was close to a shut-out.
Sibir’s run of five defeats meant the end for head coach Pavel Zubov and a first outing for the incoming Vladimir Yurzinov behind the bench. Yurzinov, whose last game in the KHL was also in Magnitogorsk when Kunlun lost in the playoffs, saw his new team battle … but could not inspire a win to snap that sorry sequence.
Metallurg, a team with its own problems this season and still missing injured talisman Sergei Mozyakin, improved to five wins from six after a shoot-out win secured by successful efforts from Jan Kovar, Chris Lee and Matt Ellison.
But the game was tight and competitive. Magnitka took an early lead through Andrei Chibisov, but Sibir never allowed its opponent to relax and came back to lead midway through the game. Andrei Yermakov tied the scores before a power play goal from Alexander Bergstrom gave the visitor the advantage. That lead lasted barely one minute, though, before Nikita Pivtsakin’s long-range effort beat Alexander Salak. The Czech goalie was replaced by Alexei Krasikov for the shoot-out, but that gambit failed as Metallurg scored all three of its attempts.
Improving Dynamo picked up another good road win to stay on course for a playoff spot. The Blue-and-Whites fell behind to Neftekhimik, but rallied to take the points.
The home team, riding high in the East, went in front midway through the first period when Emil Galimov scored on the game’s first power play. But Dynamo needed just five minutes to level the scores through young forward Alexander Petunin. He claimed his fourth goal of the season, and all of them have come in Dynamo victories.
The decisive goal came late in the second period from Daniil Tarasov, but the final frame was all about Alexander Yeryomenko. The veteran goalie stood firm as Neftekhimik threw everything forward. The home team led the shot count 18-3, but could not find a way back into the game.
Torpedo enjoyed an entertaining win against Jokerit thanks to a late Mikhail Grigoryev goal.
Regulation time had just crept into its final two minutes when Grigoryev punished Jokerit for a ‘too many men’ penalty, snapping a 2-2 tie in dramatic fashion. Jokerit was seconds away from killing the pen, but found itself unable to hold on, or to retrieve the game.
Earlier, Torpedo led twice, but the Finns tied it up each time. Gennady Stolyarov’s early effort was cancelled out by Niklas Jensen in the first period; Evgeny Mozer and Jesse Joensuu recreated the sequence in the second.
Severstal dropped out of the top eight despite this overtime victory against Vityaz. The two-point returned enabled Spartak to overtake the Steelmen, pushing the Cherepovets team down to ninth.
But it could have been worse for the host, which trailed 0-2 in the 35th minute after Matias Myttynen and Dmitry Semin found the net. However, Daniil Vovchenko quickly reduced the arrears and Yury Trubachyov tied the game with five minutes left.
That meant overtime, but Pavel Chernov settled it in the host’s favor after 26 seconds of the extras.
For Spartak, the 1980s were dominated by European success. The Red-and-Whites won the Spengler Cup five times between 1980 and 1990. Fittingly, then, on a day of 80s-themed action in Moscow, the home team enjoyed an impressive win against European opposition.
This time, away from the retro entourage off the ice, the focus was on securing points to keep in the playoff places – and Spartak delivered in some style. Things started well – Vyacheslav Leshchenko opened the scoring in the fourth minute – and got better. Colby Genoway’s first-period equalizer for Slovan was a brief blip, but once Dmitry Kalinin reinstated the home lead just before the intermission, there was no looking back for the home team.
Alexander Osipov added two more in the middle frame, then the host cut loose in the final stanza. Two goals in a minute from Lukas Radil and Dmitry Chernykh ended any doubt about the outcome and ensured that Andrej Stastny’s major penalty for slashing yielded three goals in total. Ryan Stoa made it 7-1 midway through the third, and the teams traded late markers when Pavol Skalicky got one back for Slovan before Alexander Kuznetsov completed the rout. The win moves Spartak up to seventh.
This battle of the namesake teams may have had little impact on the race for the playoffs, but this win helps the Latvians move clear of the league’s basement.
Young Frenks Razgals opened the scoring after five minutes, with the 21-year-old claiming his second goal in three games, but it was visiting goalie Janis Kalnins who was having the busier time. Minsk dominated the shot count throughout, but could not find a way past the Latvian goalie until late in the game. By that time, Miks Indrasis had added a second goal, finding the net with one of just four shots on target in the second period. Jack Skille reduced the deficit with a minute to play, but Indrasis shot into an empty net to make the points safe.