East: Chudinov scores from his own half, Ufa takes its chances. March 20 playoffs20 March 2019, 20:30
Alexander Bergstrom was among the points for the 14th consecutive game, matching Alexander Ovechkin’s best KHL streak and helping Sibir to a valuable win against Avangard. Elsewhere, SKA and CSKA both had shut-out victories, Avtomobilist crushed Vityaz, and Jokerit beat Red Star.
Admiral celebrated a third successive win, but this latest loss for Barys leaves the Astana team with a 10-point gap to eighth place and just six games left to play this season.
The first period produced no goals and few chances, but Admiral got ahead early in the second through Artyom Zemchyonok. Maxim Kazakov added a second in the 45th minute, but it still wasn’t plain sailing for the Mariners.
Three late goals gave Sibir an important win over its Siberian rival Avangard, but it was Alexander Bergstrom’s goal that grabbed the attention.
The Swede has now picked up at least one point in his last 14 games, establishing the fourth-best scoring streak in KHL history and overtaking the great Alexander Ovechkin in the process. Fittingly, it was also the game-winner, arriving on the power play in the 56th minute, a couple of minutes after Nikolai Demidov had tied the game at 2-2. Alexander Sharov put the result beyond doubt in the closing moments.
Earlier the teams traded first-period goals: Ilya Mikheyev extended his own streak to four goals in his last four games as he put Avangard in front before Andrei Yermakov tied it up. Anton Kolyakov restored the visitor’s lead in the second period, but his team could not hold on to take the W back to Omsk.
Avto served notice that it was not about to give up in the race for top spot in the Eastern Conference, handing out a crushing defeat to Vityaz.
The damage was done in the first period, as the visitor raced into a 3-0 lead. Stepan Khripunov opened the scoring in the second minute, and Artyom Gareyev made it two inside 10 minutes. Alexei Mikhnov added to his assist on Gareyev’s goal by adding a third himself, and Vityaz was in disarray.
The home team got a goal back in the middle frame through Nikita Dvurechensky, but there was no recovery in store. Instead, Anatoly Golyshev and Yegor Milovzorov extended the lead in the third period.
For the second game running, Red Star visited a high-flying Western Conference opponent and produced a battling display for two periods.
However, Jokerit had enough to settle this one in the third, when Sami Lepisto scored on a 5-on-3 power play to snap a 1-1 tie and Olli Palola added a last-minute clincher. For Lepisto, that was something of a relief after his error allowed Lucas Lessio to skate clear and tie the game late in the middle stanza, cancelling out Pekka Jormakka’s opening goal.
Red Star deserved to be in the game at that stage. The Chinese team had ridden out a stormy first period in which Jokerit was well on top. In the middle section, Kunlun began to create more chances of its own as the game turned into a more even contest.
SKA and Loko, old foes from playoffs past, produced another tight clash here. But once again, the league leader prevailed … and it was all about the D.
Lokomotiv simply could not find a way past, despite denying SKA its usual dominance on offense. Igor Shestyorkin dealt with everything the visitor could fire at him, while the home D worked hard to limit Loko’s chances of a goal.
And it was a defenseman who claimed the winning goal, much to Loko’s dismay. Patrik Hersley’s 34th-minute power play goal was the only score of the match. For Lokomotiv, it was a painful reminder of what the team lost when Hersley swapped Yaroslavl for Petersburg.
The other Army Men also enjoyed a shut-out victory, despatching Lada with little difficulty.
The game was Moscow team’s closest home game to the 70th anniversary of the birth of legendary CSKA and USSR forward Valery Kharlamov, and in a slow first period the special home jerseys, complete with Kharlamov’s face, were a more diverting talking point than much of the action.
Things perked up in the middle frame Ivan Telegin thumped home the opening goal soon after the restart, and Roman Lyubimov’s close-range finish wrapped up the neatest play of the game after Igor Ozhiganov and Maxim Shalunov sliced the Lada defense open. Shalunov added a third himself early in the final session, while Lars Johansson finished with 22 saves.
After Slovan’s morale-boosting victory over Metallurg, it was back down to Earth against another team from the Southern Urals.
Traktor eased to victory with a goal in each period, backstopped by 31 saves from the impressive Pavel Francouz. The Czech was at his busiest in the second period, but Slovan failed to respond to Alexei Kruchinin’s opening goal and fell further behind when Kruchinin added a second. Maxim Yakutsenya and Igor Polygalov provided the assists on both goals.
In the final stanza Nick Bailen scored on the power play to increase Traktor’s lead, and Slovan was unable to get back into contention. The victory moves Traktor above Salavat Yulaev into sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
East: Chudinov scores from his own half, Ufa takes its chances. March 20 playoffs 20 March 2019, 20:30