Sibir’s 11th successive defeat, this time going down 0-5 at SKA, sets a new KHL record for the worst start to a season. Elsewhere, Ak Bars scored three goals in 41 seconds but still lost at home to Kunlun Red Star. There were home wins for Torpedo and Neftekhimik, while Matthew Frattin gave Barys a shoot-out win at Vityaz. Salavat Yulaev won 3-1 at Dinamo Minsk.
For 41 seconds of this remarkable game, Ak Bars reigned supreme. For the rest, though, it was all about Kunlun. The Chinese team displayed fearlessness, resilience and no little quality to record a famous victory at the defending champion.
Two goals for Taylor Beck put the visitor ahead but the surprise lead evaporated in less than a minute midway through the second period. Ak Bars suddenly went up a gear, and fired in three goals in 41 seconds to turn the scoreline around. Rafael Batyrshin got the host on the scoreboard, Rob Klinkhammer tied the scores and, 15 seconds later, Artyom Lukoyanov made it 3-2 to Ak Bars.
Many teams would have panicked. Pulling off a victory in Kazan is never an easy task, and the emotional impact of seeing a game turned upside down so quickly has seen more than one team come apart. But Red Star did not even call a time-out to calm things down. Instead, Jussi Paltola’s players got on with their jobs and focused on what had got them ahead in the first place. The rewards came when Victor Bartley tied the game in the 36th minute and the sensation was secured in the unlikeliest of circumstances in the closing minutes when Veli-Matti Savinainen got a short-handed winner. After recording its first ever win in Nizhnekamsk on Monday, Red Star has now claimed its first victory over Ak Bars: following a slow start to the season, Paltola’s team is starting to flex its muscles.
Torpedo scored four unanswered goals in the third period to ease to victory over Admiral.
However, Torpedo took control in the final frame to record a third win in four games and send Admiral spinning to a fourth successive loss. Andrew Calof got things rolling with a power play goal in the 44th minute before Daniil Ilyin got his second goal in three appearances to extend the lead. The visitor had barely killed another penalty before Swedish defensemanPhilip Holm made it 4-1, prompting a time-out for Admiral. That made little difference, though, with Robert Sabolic adding a fifth to put the seal on an emphatic home win.
Neftekhimik snapped a two-game losing streak to defeat Amur.
The home team’s Finnish combination paid off for the first goal, with Juuso Puustinen scoring off assists from Joonas Nattinen and Mikael Ruohomaa. Emil Galimov doubled the lead early in the second period with fit-again Czech forward Andrej Nestrasil picking up his first point with a helper.
Amur responded by replacing goalie Libor Kasik with Evgeny Alikin. The understudy kept Neftekhimik at bay for the rest of the game, but the visitor was unable to find a way back into the game. Pavel Dedunov pulled a goal back early in the third period, but Neftekhimik held on to maintain a winning streak at home to Amur that stretches back to December 2011.
Sibir slumped to an 11th successive loss and now holds the record for the worst ever start to a KHL season. Previously the Siberian team was tied with Vityaz, which lost 10 games at the start of the 2011-12 campaign. Even then, Vityaz picked up a few points from overtime losses; Sibir has lost every game so far in regulation.
A trip to SKA was always a daunting prospect for a team out of form and the host showed no mercy. If the first period brought a solitary goal for the home side, scored by Alexei Kruchinin, it also brought a dominant performance: 14-5 on the shot count, seven minutes on the attack against just one.
The second period followed a similar pattern, with Sergei Plotnikov getting the goal that SKA’s dominance deserved. In the third period, goals from Maxim Karpov, Nikolai Prokhorkin and Dinar Khafizullin gave the scoreline a more comprehensive look. Magnus Hellberg collected the shut-out, but Sibir’s problems run deeper than the scoreline. Outshot three-to-one, and with SKA spending more than 22 minutes on offense, this was as one-sided a game as the home team could wish for.
Salavat Yulaev’s defense came to the fore with all three goals in this win at the Western Conference’s bottom club.
After a goalless opening frame, the visitor took control in the second period. Danish D-man Philip Larsen converted an early power play to open the scoring and he repeated the trick just after the half-hour mark. A couple of minutes later, fellow blue-liner Pavel Koledov got his first goal for his new club, marking his second appearance since leaving Lokomotiv with a second power play goal after Ivan Drozdov was ejected for slashing.
Denis Osipov got one back with 10 minutes to play, but the visitor was never seriously troubled as it closed out the win.
Barys was 20 seconds from victory in Podolsk – but needed a shoot-out win courtesy of Matthew Frattin to take the win against Vityaz.
The visitor opened a 3-1 lead in the second period thanks to goals from Frattin and Alikhan Asetov, but Vityaz replied early in the third when Gennady Stolyarov potted his second for the club following a summer move from Torpedo.
That set the scene for Vojtech Mozik to smash in a shot from the blue line while Stolyarov and Alexander Semin screened visiting goalie Henrik Karlsson to take the game to overtime. Frattin got the overtime winner for Barys on Monday and delivered the points to Astana once again in the shoot-out here.