A strong first period from CSKA earned the Muscovites a sixth successive victory, beating Salavat Yulaev 2-1. The Army Men go second in the West behind Jokerit, who had a Jesse Joensuu hat-trick to thank for a 4-2 win over Sochi. Dynamo suffered a second successive 0-1 loss, this time at Traktor.
The pressure was mounting for both teams ahead of this game in Chelyabinsk – and a solitary goal from Alexander Bergstrom meant Traktor left the happier of the two.
The home team handed a debut to Finnish forward Jonas Enlund, signed over the weekend. He replaced Richard Gynge, who is due to miss the next couple of weeks through injury. Dynamo continued with try-out players Igor Makarov and Vyacheslav Kulyomin but the two forwards were once again involved in a performance that did not produce a goal.
Neither side managed much of a goal threat in the opening two periods and it wasn’t until Traktor got a 5-on-3 power play in the third that Bergstrom finally broke the deadlock. Dynamo survived the initial crisis but, once back to four men, had no answers when Ryan Stoa went round the back and fed the Swede for what proved to be the only goal of the game. Dynamo battled for an equalizer but could not find a way past Alexander Sudnitsin in the home net; for the second game running the Blue-and-Whites suffered a 0-1 loss.
Jesse Joensuu’s hat-trick earned Jokerit a victory that keeps it on top of the Western Conference, two points clear of CSKA.
The 30-year-old forward opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a power play goal only for Sochi to tie it up seconds before the intermission when Eric O’Dell notched a goal on the PP for the visitors. Sochi had selected 19-year-old goalie Pyotr Kochetkov for his KHL debut and he looked solid in the first period before running into trouble in the second. Geoff Platt’s defense-splitting pass set up Niklas Jensen for the 2-1 goal, then Joensuu popped up with two more power play tallies. The first came from the penalty Sochi incurred for a failed challenge for offside on the Jensen goal, the second, just before the half-hour mark, was subject to a video review of its own before being awarded.
Jokerit then lost Viktor Loov, ejected from the game for slashing, and when Damir Musin made it 2-4 early in the final frame there was hope that Sochi could launch a fightback. It wasn’t to be, and were it not for a flurry of saves from young Kochetkov during a Jokerit power play the final margin would have been more comfortable for the host.
CSKA kept up its push for top spot in the Western Conference, recording its sixth straight victory in a 2-1 win at Salavat Yulaev.
The visitor made a bright start and went in front thanks to Greg Scott’s early goal following a battle for possession on the slot. The first period brought a second CSKA goal, and this was a classy piece of tic-tac-toe finished off by Maxim Shalunov.
Salavat Yulaev did not give up, though. Anton Burdasov halved the deficit – and joined Linus Videll at the top of the goalscoring charts with his ninth of the season – when he scored a late power play effort. And Philip Larsen thought he’d forced overtime with 0.3 seconds left on the clock; the Dane was frustrated by a video review that showed he had kicked the puck.