A good start is important, a good finish is priceless. Just ask Lokomotiv after its six-game winning streak came to an end in Ufa.
The game could hardly have started better for the visitor. Alexander Yelesin opened the scoring with just five seconds played, beating Alexander Radulov’s record for the fastest goal in a KHL game. For home goalie Ben Scrivens, it was a moment to forget: Andrei Loktionov won the opening face-off of the game, the puck broke for defenseman Yelesin, and he took a swing at it to find the back of the net from center ice.
A goal five seconds into the game was followed by another five seconds from the end of the first period. Salavat was attempting to kill Ilya Zubov’s major penalty after his ejection from the game for slashing when Brandon Kozun doubled Loko’s advantage. Scrivens did not emerge for the second period.
But in Aesop’s old fable, the hare starts fast only to be overtaken by the slow and steady tortoise. And Salavat played that role to perfection, recovering a 0-2 deficit and going on to win the game. Mikhail Yunkov began the fightback in the 24th minute, then Loko’s Jakub Nakladal picked a fight with Igor Makarov and handed the host a power play chance. Teemu Hartikainen capitalized on that within 11 seconds to tie the game and, despite Loko having more than twice as many shots, the second frame finished with the scores level.
Hartikainen had a hand in the game-winner, providing the assist for fellow Finn Joonas Kemppainen to make it 3-2 in the 48th minute. Subsequently it was all about goalie Andrei Kareyev, who finished the game with 22 saves from two periods to backstop his team to a fightback victory. Salavat Yulaev’s winning streak moves to four games.