Andy Potts,
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Eeli Tolvanen’s assist for Jokerit at Metallurg saw him equal Evgeny Kuznetsov’s record of 32 points as an 18-year-old in the KHL. Another famous forward, Danis Zaripov, got his first goal since returning to Ak Bars, helping his team to a 6-2 victory over Dynamo Moscow. Vladimir Yurzinov got his first win as Sibir head coach after his team came from behind to beat Traktor.

First success for Yurzinov’s Sibir

Traktor Chelyabinsk 3 Sibir Novosibirsk 4 (2-1, 1-2, 0-1)

Vladimir Yurzinov enjoyed his first victory since replacing Pavel Zubov behind the bench at Sibir. His team recovered from 0-2 down to win at Traktor.

The home team took the early initiative thanks to goals from Paul Szczechura and Igor Polygalov, but Sibir responded with three in six minutes either side of the first intermission. Patrik Zackrisson got one back before the break, then Alexander Bergstrom and Semyon Ivanov put the visitor in front.

Richard Gynge tied the scores once again, but Stepan Sannikov scored the only goal of the third period to give Sibir the verdict.

Ugra wins for the first time in 13 attempts

Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 3 Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk 4 SO (1-0, 2-1, 0-2, 0-0, 0-1)

Ugra snapped a 12-game losing streak after recovering from 1-3 down to win a shoot-out at Avtomobilist.

The home team, up to third in the Eastern Conference, made its expected strong start against a struggling opponent. Alexei Mikhnov opened the scoring in the second minute, and second period goals from Anatoly Golyshev and Alexander Kucheryavenko sandwiched Vojtech Polak’s solitary strike for Ugra.

But the visitor rallied in the third period. Niclas Burstrom and Maxim Pestushko hauled Ugra level with 10 minutes to play and neither side could find a winner before the shoot-out. Burstrom then delivered the decisive blow in the extras to end Ugra’s long wait for a victory.

Tolvanen matches record, Magnitka gets the win

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 2 Jokerit Helsinki 1 SO (0-0, 0-1, 1-0, 0-0, 1-0)

Eeli Tolvanen got his 32nd point of the season to match Evgeny Kuznetsov’s KHL record for an 18-year-old. Kuznetsov achieved it for Traktor in 2010-11, but seems certain to be overtaken by the Finn, who celebrates his 19th birthday on April 22.

Tolvanen’s helper enabled John Norman to put Jokerit 1-0 up late in the second period, but it wasn’t enough to secure the points. Instead, Metallurg recovered to record its fifth successive win and send Jokerit spinning to a third straight defeat.

Sergei Tereshchenko tied the game with a power play goal in the third, and in the shoot-out Tolvanen saw his attempt saved as Andrei Chibisov got the decisive goal.

Photo: 11.12.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) - Jokerit (Helsinki)

Avangard’s late flourish pays dividends

Lada Togliatti 0 Avangard Omsk 5 (0-1, 0-0, 0-4)

Avangard stormed to victory at Lada, but this meeting of second bottom and second top was not quite as straightforward as the scoreline suggests.

It took a third-period flourish to put some daylight between the teams, which began the day separated by 31 points in the Eastern Conference table. Ilya Mikheyev’s first-period opener set Avangard on its way, but the high-flying Hawks struggled to put away their opponent.

The second period was tight, with few chances for either team, and it wasn’t until the final frame that the visitor displayed an extra touch of class in front of the net and jumped to a big lead. Three goals came in a rush – Jonas Ahnelov, Pyotr Khokhryakov and Semyon Koshelev scored in the space of less than five minutes – before Yegor Martynov added a fifth late on.

Zaripov re-opens account, claims 200th career goal

Ak Bars Kazan 6 Dynamo Moscow 2 (0-0, 3-1, 3-1)

Danis Zaripov scored his first goal since rejoining Ak Bars, and it proved to be the game winner as the Kazan team overpowered Dynamo.

After a goalless first period, Ak Bars moved into a 2-1 lead in the second with goals from Artyom Lukoyanov and Rob Klinkhammer coming either side of a power play strike for former Ak Bars favorite Ilya Nikulin. Then came Zaripov’s moment: not only his first since returning to Kazan, not only the winner in this game, but his 200th regular season goal in a distinguished career. It was a well-worked effort, with some slick passing to carve open the visiting defense before Zaripov applied the finishing touch.

The third period saw Ak Bars add three more goals – Anton Glinkin, Anton Lander and Jiri Sekac finding the net – before Nikulin got his second of the night in the last minute.

Photo: 11.12.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. Ak Bars (Kazan) - Dynamo (Moscow)

Gragnani leads Dinamo to victory

Dinamo Minsk 3 Slovan Bratislava 1 (1-0, 2-1, 0-0)

Two teams whose playoff prospects are looking slim faced off in Minsk, and the home team came out on top.

Marc-Andre Gragnani, the Dinamo defenseman who topped the voting in the fans’ All-Star poll, opened the scoring in the 18th minute and that marker made the difference at the first intermission.

Charles Linglet and Jack Skille extended Dinamo’s advantage in the second frame, Gragnani assisting on Skille’s strike. Slovan’s sole reply came from Martin Reway. Pavol Skalicky’s evening ended early after he was ejected from the game in the final frame.

Sochi strengthens its playoff case

HC Sochi 3 Spartak Moscow 1 (1-0, 1-1, 1-0)

Both these teams are fighting to claim a spot in this season’s playoffs, and Sochi got a valuable three points to lift it ahead of tonight’s opponent and into seventh place ahead of the international break.

The home team won it with a goal in each period. Ilya Khokhlov opened the scoring midway through the first period of Maxim Trunyov’s high hit left Spartak shorthanded. Anatoly Nikontsev tied it up late in the second, but within a minute Eric O’Dell restored Sochi’s lead when he fired home Casey Wellman’s pass from behind the net.

Spartak struggled to take control of the game as it looked for an equalizer in the final period, and Evgeny Lapenkov put the result out of reach on 52 minutes.

CSKA makes it 11 wins in a row

CSKA Moscow 4 Barys Astana 1 (2-1, 1-0, 1-0)

In-form CSKA enjoyed another comfortable victory, while Barys continues to struggle for any kind of result at the moment. The form table shows CSKA riding high with 11 successive victories, while the Kazakhs have managed just two wins in that time.

The game began with a flurry of goals. Konstantin Okulov opened the scoring in the sixth minute, only for Barys to tie the game immediately thanks to Alexei Maklyukov. However, Maxim Shalunov added a goal to his earlier assist and made it 2-1 to the host in the eighth minute.

After that, although the play remained fairly even, Barys never again got close to upsetting the home team. Valery Nichushkin added a third on the power play, and Sergei Shumakov got the fourth to go with his first-period assists.

Photo: 11.12.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. CSKA (Moscow) - Barys (Astana)

Riga too strong for Vityaz

Dinamo Riga 4 Vityaz Moscow Region 2 (1-0, 1-1, 2-1)

Dinamo’s recent improvement continues, while Vityaz’ hopes of repeating last season’s playoff appearance seem to be fading fast.

The host was never seriously troubled here, going ahead through Edgars Kulda in the first period and doubling that lead on the power play thanks to Mikelis Redlihs in the second. Vityaz threatened to make a game of it when Matias Myttynen got one back, but Miks Indrasis made it 3-1 early in the third. There was still time for the teams to trade goals when Alexei Makeyev reduced the deficit only to see Zile Kristaps wrap up the win for Dinamo.

Andy Potts,
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