Andy Potts,
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Sibir’s remarkable run of form under new head coach Vladimir Yurzinov continues, and today’s 2-0 win over Lada makes it 10 victories in 11 games for the Novosibirsk team. The day’s most exciting clash came in Kazan, where Ak Bars came out on top after sharing 10 goals with CSKA. Chernyshev Division leader Salavat Yulaev is still one win away from clinching a playoff place after losing in a shoot-out against Jokerit.

Sharov and Krasikov defeat Lada

Sibir Novosibirsk 2 Lada Togliatti 0 (0-0, 0-0, 2-0)

Two goals from Alexander Sharov, both on the power play, pushed Sibir ever closer to a playoff place as the Siberians rattled up their 10th victory in 11 games.

Lada, currently last in the Eastern Conference, made Sibir work for it, though: the visitor resisted a first period onslaught, survived a scare early in the second when the host had a goal ruled out for a hand pass, and held out until Sharov broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute.

But once Damir Rakhimullin was ejected from the game for boarding, Sibir got a 5-on-3 advantage and Sharov added a second to wrap up the win. Goalie Alexei Krasikov made 21 saves to claim his second successive shut-out and Sibir’s third.

Golyshev has too much for Barys

Barys Astana 2 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 3 SO (1-0, 0-1, 1-1, 0-0, 0-1)

Anatoly Golyshev’s shoot-out winner snapped a three-game losing streak for Avtomobilist, and sent the team into the Olympic break in high spirits.

Barys, a team which has seen its own form slump in recent weeks, is already looking to the future, but it was an old favorite who gave the home team the lead. Kevin Dallman, one of the KHL’s longest-serving imports, scored on the power play in the sixth minute. Avto equalized in the middle frame through Pierre-Alexander Parenteau, but another familiar face, Nigel Dawes, reinstated the Barys lead with another power play goal early in the third.

Avto left it late to save the game. First, Golyshev had an assist as Alexei Vasilevsky tied it up in the 58th minute. Then he got the decisive goal in the shoot-out.

Second-placed Salavat still sweating on playoff spot

Salavat Yulaev Ufa 4 Jokerit Helsinki 5 SO (2-1, 1-2, 1-1, 0-0, 0-1)

The first of two high-scoring games on Tuesday ended with Jokerit taking a shoot-out win and leaving Chernyshev Division leader Salavat Yulaev three points shy of securing its playoff place. But Jokerit’s success was dampened by the loss of goalie Karri Ramo to injury early in the game – the Finnish Olympic pick will be hoping for a swift recovery ahead of big action for club and country in the coming the weeks.

This game pitted Erkka Westerlund against his former charges from Jokerit, and for much of the action the teams traded goals. Steve Moses put Jokerit up, collecting his 100th KHL point in the process, only for Zakhar Arzamastsev to tie the scores. Then Teemu Hartikainen gave the host the lead before Niklas Jensen pulled Jokerit level. There was another quick exchange of goals as Maxim Mayorov and Jesse Joensuu took us to 3-3 at the second intermission, then Linus Omark saw his strike for Salavat Yulaev cancelled out by Peter Regin in the third.

Overtime could not produce a winner, and Moses settled it in the shoot-out as Ryan Zapolski pulled off three stops.

The complexities of the Chernyshev Division, meanwhile, are impressive. Not only is second-placed Salavat still waiting to mathematically confirm its post-season, long-time divisional leader Avangard now finds itself in eighth place due to Sibir’s run of form and the relative strength of the Kharlamov Division teams this season.

Photo: 23.01.18. KHL Championship 2017/18. Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) - Jokerit (Helsinki)

Hanzl 2, Filatov 3, Neftekhimik on song

Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 5 Slovan Bratislava 1 (1-0, 3-0, 1-1)

Robin Hanzl scored twice and Nikita Filatov got three points as Neftekhimik hammered Slovan.

Filatov began by assisted on Hanzl’s two goals either side of the first intermission, then goals from Pavel Poryadin and Alexander Avtsin set the home team 4-0 clear shortly after the 30-minute mark. Filatov then found the net himself early in the third.

Slovan managed a late consolation goal through Tomas Hrnka, but this game was all about Neftekhimk. The win keeps Andrei Nazarov’s team in with a shot at the Conference title, trailing Ak Bars by three points with two games each to play.

Samonov claims first KHL win

HC Sochi 1 Vityaz Moscow Region 2 (0-1, 0-1, 1-0)

Young Vityaz goalie Alexander Samonov celebrated his first win in the KHL after the 22-year-old made 36 saves to frustrate Sochi.

The visitor often found itself under pressure, but still opened a 2-0 lead thanks to an early short handed effort from Roman Horak and a Borna Rendulic goal late in the second period.

Playoff bound Sochi ramped up its offense in the final frame, but had only a Sean Collins goal in the 49th minute to show for its efforts. Samonov, 22, missed out on a first shoot-out, but claims his first W in only his fourth appearance.

A goal feast in Kazan!

Ak Bars Kazan 6 CSKA Moscow 4 (2-2, 2-2, 2-0)

The day’s big game pitted the Eastern Conference leader against the Western Conference runner-up – and sparks duly flew. After the teams shared 10 goals, Ak Bars took the verdict, and maybe hit back at those who have argued that this year’s Gagarin Cup will inevitably go West. Perhaps the key moment came early in the third. Ak Bars had just gone in front once again thanks to Andrei Markov’s power play goal, when CSKA got a 5-on-3 power play. The Army Men thought they’d tied it up – Kirill Kaprizov found the net and the scoreboard showed 5-5. But the video review showed a high stick in the play. The goal was ruled out, and moments later Stanislav Galiyev made it 6-4, a lead that the home team would not relinquish.

Earlier in the game, the teams traded goals frequently. Anton Lander gave the home team the lead, but a quick response saw Sergei Shumakov and Maxim Shalunov put CSKA in front. Vladimir Tkachyov tied it up before the intermission.

The middle frame followed a similar pattern. Alexander Burmistrov struck first for Ak Bars, then power play goals from Greg Scott and Shalunov again put the Army Men ahead. This time Jiri Sekac made it 4-4, and set up the third period in which Ak Bars managed to change the script.

Photo: 23.01.18. KHL Championship 2017/18. Ak Bars (Kazan) - CSKA (Moscow)

Andy Potts,
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Vityaz (Moscow Region) Vityaz (Moscow Region)
Jokerit (Helsinki) Jokerit (Helsinki)
Lada (Togliatti) Lada (Togliatti)
Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk) Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk)
Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)
Sibir (Novosibirsk Region) Sibir (Novosibirsk Region)
Slovan (Bratislava) Slovan (Bratislava)
HC Sochi (Sochi) HC Sochi (Sochi)
CSKA (Moscow) CSKA (Moscow)
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