Andy Potts,
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Wednesday’s program started at top speed when Admiral and Dinamo Riga traded goals in the first 48 seconds of their game. That set a new KHL record, but two third-period markers for the visitor settled the outcome. Eastern Conference leader Ak Bars suffered a 3-0 derby defeat against Tatarstan rival Neftekhimik, and the two neighbors are poised to duke it out for top spot in the closing stages of the season. Sibir demolished Ugra 6-1, and Dynamo defeated Barys 5-3 in an entertaining clash in Moscow.

McMillan’s double follows a fast start

Admiral Vladivostok 1 Dinamo Riga 3 (1-1, 0-0, 0-2)

Admiral and Dinamo Riga shared two goals in the first 48 seconds of today’s game – setting a new KHL record for speedy scoring. The previous best, dating back to the league’s second season in 2009-10, had seen MVD score twice in 55 seconds against Severstal.

Robert Sabolic got the opener for Admiral, with Maxim Kitsyn’s assist giving him his first KHL point in six years on the day he celebrated the birth of his daughter. However, the home team peaked way too early. Mikelis Redlihs quickly tied the scores, and two goals from Brandon McMillan gave Dinamo the verdict in the third period.

Torpedo maintains its domination of Red Star

Kunlun Red Star 0 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 2 (0-0, 0-2, 0-0)

Torpedo made it four wins from four games against Red Star thanks to a strong defensive display that allowed just 16 shots on Stanislav Galimov’s net.

The home team, looking to build on Monday’s victory over Dinamo Riga, was under pressure from the start as Torpedo took control of the game in the first period without finding a way past goalie Magnus Hellberg. But the middle frame saw the visitor get a stranglehold on the outcome. First, Yegor Dugin fired home the rebound from a Tomas Kundratek shot. Then Maxim Lazarev gratefully converted a stray pass from Kunlun defenseman Nikita Khlystov to double the lead.

The final stanza was more adventure from Red Star, but the home team struggled to carve out clear-cut chances in front of Galimov.

Yurzinov enjoys his first game in Novosibirsk

Sibir Novosibirsk 6 Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk 1 (1-0, 4-0, 1-1)

Vladimir Yurzinov’s home debut as Sibir’s head coach went perfectly thanks to doubles from Stepan Sannikov and Vyacheslav Osnovin.

Ugra arrived in Novosibirsk lifted by its shock 5-1 win at Avangard on Monday, but it was soon clear that there would be no repeat performance today. Sibir killed an early 3-on-5 situation, and went ahead when Sannikov deflected home a shot from Andrei Yermakov late in the first frame. Then came the explosion, with four unanswered goals in the second period. Sannikov made it 2-0 in the 21st minute, Sergei Konkov added a third 20 seconds later and Osnovin grabbed two more, including a short-handed effort.

That put the game beyond reach, and Ugra’s unhappy day continued when Veli-Matti Savinainen missed a penalty shot early in the third. Alexander Bergstrom made it 6-0 on the power play before Maxim Pestushko belatedly gave the visitor something to cheer.

30 saves from Ezhov lifts Neftekhimik to victory

Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 3 Ak Bars Kazan 0 (1-0, 1-0, 1-0)

Dennis Everberg’s first goal since joining Neftekhimik helped his new club to victory in the Tatarstan derby – and lifted the team to second place in the Kharlamov Division, just three points behind Ak Bars with a game in hand.

The Swede opened the scoring after five minutes of Wednesday’s game, capitalizing on some poor defensive cover to convert Damir Sharipzyanov’s feed.

If it was a new face who set Neftekhimik on its way, the goals that put the result beyond doubt came from a familiar source. Dan Sexton added two further markers, one in the second period and one on a power play in the third. Both were assisted by Andrej Nestrasil. At the other end, Ilya Ezhov made 30 saves to collect his second successive shut-out, backstopping his team to a second derby victory of the season.

Boyd strikes against former club, Tarasov double leads Dynamo

Dynamo Moscow 5 Barys Astana 3 (1-1, 2-1, 2-1)

Two goals from Daniil Tarasov helped Dynamo to edge the verdict in an entertaining game.

Tarasov opened the scoring on 61 seconds, assisted by young Alexander Petunin. But Barys turned it around to lead by the midway stage, with Vladimir Markelov tying the scores in the first period before Roman Starchenko put the Kazakh team in front in the 29th minute.

Dynamo rallied late in the middle stanza, with Nikita Komarov tying the scores before Petunin and Tarasov combined once again on the Blue-and-Whites’ third goal. Barys made it 3-3 early in the third through James Wright, but the game got away from the visitor when Dmitry Vishnevsky’s power play goal was followed by a major penalty on Kevin Dallman for a high hit. That long power play enabled Dustin Boyd to score against his former club and by the time Barys was back to full strength there was less than five minutes for the visitor to claw back a two-goal deficit.

Photo: 20.12.17. KHL Championship 2017/18. Dynamo (Moscow) - Barys (Astana)

Sochi boosts playoff prospects, Salavat Yulaev looks anxious

HC Sochi 2 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 1 (1-0, 1-0, 0-1)

Salavat Yulaev remains in an anxious race for a playoff spot after losing out at a Sochi team looking to boost its top-eight prospects in the West.

The Ufa squad is down to eighth in the Eastern Conference, four points in front of Sibir and Amur as the regular season enters its decisive phase. That’s a far cry from the optimism around the team early in the season, when Salavat Yulaev rattled in 11 goals against Sochi at the end of August.

Today, scoring was harder to come by despite Jyrki Jokipakka’s first-minute opener for Sochi. The Finnish international scored from the blue line to give the Black Sea team a perfect start. It got better for Sochi when a defensive error enabled Casey Wellman to feed Pavel Padakin for the second goal in the middle period. Enver Lisin pulled a goal back for the visitor with 11 minutes to go, but Sochi held on to take the win and move six points clear of ninth-placed Severstal.

Slovan suffers seventh straight reverse

Slovan Bratislava 2 Lada Togliatti 4 (0-0, 1-2, 1-2)

Lada snapped a three-game losing streak, but the misery goes on for Slovan. The home team lost its seventh game in a row and is now just two points clear of Dinamo Riga at the foot of the Western Conference.

After a goalless first period, the game exploded into life around the midway mark. Sergei Soin gave Lada the lead with a power play goal, then another flurry of penalties gave the home team a man advantage and Simon Despres capitalized, collecting the puck from goalie Jakub Stepanek and going down to the other end to roof the puck.

But Lada went back in front through Vladimir Zhuravlyov and strengthened its position with 10 minutes to play thanks to Alexander Nesterov. Slovan’s Lukas Kaspar grabbed a short-handed tally to keep it interesting until the end, but Kirill Kapustin hit the empty net to finish the job for the visitor.

Andy Potts,
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Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod)
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