Vladimir Krikunov’s first game as head coach of Dynamo Moscow was overshadowed by Danis Zaripov. The forward scored his 400thcareer goal to tie the scores before Ak Bars claimed a 2-1 win. Elsewhere, there were overtime wins for Neftekhimik and Spartak, a shoot-out success for Lokomotiv and a comfortable 3-1 verdict for SKA in Sochi.
Young Nikolai Kovalenko kept his cool under pressure to slot home the game-winning shot after a 3-3 tie between these Volga rivals.
Loko might have won the game in regulation, but for an Andy Miele equalizer eight seconds before the hooter. Miele’s effort, forced home from close range, ensured that Torpedo at least claimed a point from a game where it led 2-0 before Lokomotiv hit back. Denis Barantsev and Denis Parshin put the visitor up early on, but Yegor Averin and Brandon Kozun hauled it back to 2-2 in the second period. Kozun’s point shot was redirected into the net by Daniil Apalkov midway through the third frame, but there was more drama to come before Loko secured the win.
Neftekhimik let a 3-0 lead slip before sealing victory over Severstal in overtime.
The visitor enjoyed itself in the first two periods. Damir Sharipzyanov opened the scoring in the fifth minute and Emil Galimov doubled the advantage in a one-sided second period. Pavel Padakin’s assist on Galimov’s goal was his first since joining Neftekhimik: the forward impressed for Sochi last season but did not make a first-team appearance in his brief spell at Ak Bars.
When Andrej Nestrasil made it 3-0 on the power play at the start of the third, Severstal finally woke up – and how! Three goals in a little over two minutes saw the home side blast back onto level terms thanks to Daniil Vovchenko, Denis Kulyash and Valery Vasilyev, the latter during a 5-on-3 power play.
Neftekhimik dug deep, held its nerve and saw out the rest of regulation time. Then, in the extras, Joonas Nattinen got the winner after 65 seconds.
Vladimir Krikunov, newly-appointed head coach at Dynamo, could hardly have asked for a tougher start. A home game against the defending champion was not exactly what a team struggling for form and confidence would have chosen, but it was what the fixture list sent.
But the incoming coach saw some encouraging signs in the early part of the game, even if the final verdict went to the visitor. In the first period, the Blue-and-Whites were far from overawed and had the better of the play without managing to find the net. In the second, a power play goal from Miika Koivisto gave Dynamo a 25th-minute lead, but it took just a couple of minutes for Danis Zaripov to tie the game. That was Zaripov’s 400th goal in Russian hockey and it came after the host made a hash of clearing its zone and invited the veteran goalscorer to rush Ivan Bocharov’s net.
Dynamo posed the greater offensive threat throughout the game, but was caught out in the third period when Paul Postma popped up with the winner seven minutes from time to hand Krikunov a loss in his first game behind the Dynamo bench.
Alexander Khokhlachyov’s goal 17 seconds into overtime gave Spartak victory after an entertaining game against Dinamo Minsk.
The forward added to his earlier assist to snap a 3-3 tie and leave Andrei Kostitsyn frustrated after his two goals failed to lift the Belarusians to victory.
Kostitsyn opened the scoring in the eight minute on a power play, but Spartak responded quickly through Anatoly Nikontsev. The Khokhlachyov got a helper as Kaspars Daugavins put the home team ahead in the second period, only for Denis Kazionov to make it 2-2. Kostitsyn had Dinamo in front for the second time early in the third, but Martins Karsums took the game to the extras and Spartak came away with the win.
SKA rolled to victory at Sochi, with Alexei Byvaltsev getting his first goal since moving to St. Petersburg.
The former Amur man added his team’s third goal of the night in only his sixth appearance of the season following his summer switch. Highly rated in the Far East, he – like ex-Amur colleague Oleg Li – is steadily settling into a new role among SKA’s impressive arsenal of offensive talent.
Earlier in the game it was one of the most storied forwards at the club, Nikita Gusev, who opened the scoring when he fired in a one-timer off a Pavel Datsyuk feed from behind the net. However, Stepan Starkov cancelled out that one as the first period drew to a close.