SKA set a record shut-out streak, Sibir ended its wait for a win and Ak Bars blasted three goals in less than a minute.
That’s the time between Gleb Shashkov’s goal for Spartak early in his team’s 1-2 loss against SKA on September 14, and Max Talbot’s marker for Avangard in St. Petersburg on Friday. It’s also a new record, not just for the KHL, but for the whole of Russian and Soviet hockey. After blanking Spartak for 57 minutes of the first game in the sequence, SKA shut-out Severstal, Dynamo, Lokomotiv and Sibir to move to the cusp of the record Lada established in 2004/05. Keeping Avangard at bay until the second period set a new mark. Goalie Magnus Hellberg did most of the work – his personal shut-out sequence reached 205:23.
Avtomobilist forward Nigel Dawes got his 200th goal in regular season KHL action on Saturday. The highest-scoring import in the league’s history reached the landmark with the only goal of the game against Dynamo Moscow, maintaining Avto’s perfect start to the campaign and recording a 12th successive victory for his team. Dawes, 33, has 200 goals and 156 assists from 389 regular season games – most of them with his previous club, Barys. The Kazakh-Canadian dual national also has 33 (21+12) points from 38 playoff appearances.
After a miserable run of 12 straight losses, salvation was at hand for Sibir. But the hero of Sunday night’s 4-3 success at Vityaz was an unlikely one. Step forward, Nikita Shashkov. The 19-year-old, captain and leading scorer for Sibir’s juniors last season, had never played a minute of KHL hockey prior to the arrival of new head coach Alexander Andriyevsky. In six previous games, all defeats, he had not managed a point. But his two goals, either side of the second intermission, proved decisive in Podolsk. The first was a poacher’s effort, pinching the loose puck and firing to the top shelf after a defensemen gave up possession. For the second, he was Johnny-on-the-spot to complete Pavel Tkachenko’s counter-attack.
It was another week of high-scoring games with Barys involved in a 7-3 scoreline and Metallurg beating Dynamo 6-5. But the most remarkable rush of goals came in Kazan, where Ak Bars scored three in 41 seconds at home to Kunlun Red Star. It wasn’t quite a record – SKA got 3 in 28 seconds at Severstal in December 2009 – but it was the fastest salvo launched by a home team since the league began. These were clutch goals as well, as Rafael Batyrshin, Rob Klinkhammer and Artyom Lukoyanov turned an 0-2 deficit into a 3-2 lead. Yet they weren’t decisive goals; Red Star recovered to snatch a 4-3 win on Veli-Matti Savinainen’s late shorthanded strike.
Denis Bodrov’s mighty hit on Lokomotiv youngster Danil Yurtaikin had it all. Perfectly timed, impeccable technique and the added satisfaction of dumping his opponent over the boards and onto a somewhat startled Avtomobilist bench. Best of all, it set up a counter-attack that saw Francis Pare score. Avtomobilist recovered from 1-4 down to win this one in overtime.