Salavat Yulaev goalie Juha Metsola was the undoubted star of the day. His 62 saves almost single-handedly frustrated Avangard to help his team to an improbable 3-2 victory. Elsewhere, Kunlun Red Star enjoyed a late winner at Admiral, Amur and Slovan ended their losing streaks and there were home triumphs for Barys and Neftekhimik.
Improving Red Star got among the points for the fifth time in its last seven games – and in doing so moved just one place adrift of the playoff places.
Admiral was missing two suspended players as Stepan Zakharchuk started his 15-game ban and Vasily Streltsov sat out a single game, and in the early exchanges Kunlun looked the more coherent team. Greg Squires was the main beneficiary, scoring the opening goal in the first period and picking up an assist as Marc-Andre Gragnani doubled the lead in the second.
But Admiral hit back. Goals either side of the second intermission from Konstantin Glazachev and Sergei Konkov hauled the game back to level terms. Admiral was in the ascendancy but could not find a way past Alexander Lazushin again. Then, a late penalty against Vojtech Polak handed the visitor a chance to win it – and Brandon Yip duly delivered a decisive power play goal.
Amur recovered from the loss of an early goal to snap its seven-game losing streak with a victory at home to Traktor.
Marsel Sholokhov’s third-minute effort put the visitor in front, but that proved to be the highlight of Traktor’s day. Gleb Koryagin tied the game after eight minutes and the next key incident saw Traktor denied a goal by the video review. The officials determined that there was a kicking motion as … put the puck in the net. Adding insult to injury, Vitaly Atyushov then emerged from the penalty box to give Amur a 2-1 lead midway through the game.
Amur wasn’t the only team to earn a long-awaited victory. Western Conference struggler Slovan got its first success in six attempts with an overtime verdict at Sibir.
Chad Rau put the visitor in front midway through the first period, and that lead lasted until deep into the third period. Maxim Kazakov, one of the new faces who arrived in Novosibirsk after Alexander Andriyevsky took over as head coach, tied the scores in the 56thminute and Sibir picked up its fifth point of a difficult season.
But the wait for number six continues. Eric Gelinas punished Kazakov’s tripping offense with the winning goal in the last minute of overtime.
Salavat Yulaev jumped into a 3-0 lead in this game – but ended up hanging on thanks to the resilience of goalie Juha Metsola as Avangard’s offense piled up the shots but failed to tie the game.
Metsola made 62 saves from 64 shots – in the second period, Avangard had 28 shots to zero – to give his team an unlikely victory, while his opposite number Igor Bobkov had a day to forget.
Even in the first period, when the home team rattled up three unanswered goals, the Ufa offense wasn’t exacting in blistering form. The team fired in just five shots on target, but three of them – two from Dmitry Kugryshev and another from Vyacheslav Solodukhin – went past Bobkov. He was replaced by Alexei Murygin in the 16th minute, and Salavat scored no more.
Then the game turned into something resembling a training exercise: defense against offense. The final shot count of 11-64 highlighted Avangard’s total dominance of almost all the ice. The one area it could not take control was Metsola’s crease. David Desharnais and Maxim Chudinov did get past the Finn (the latter on a power play) but the former Amur man had an answer to everything else. Avangard slipped to a second successive loss, and its first on the road this season.
Barys inflicted a fifth consecutive defeat on Dinamo Riga, with the Latvians rarely threatening in Astana.
Nikita Mikhailis put the home team up in the second minute and that lead remained intact until the end. Dinamo had chances, especially a 5-on-3 power play early in the second period, but struggled to get shots on Henrik Karlsson’s net. Darren Dietz doubled the Barys lead late in the frame.
In the third period, the visitor started getting more looks at Karlsson, but Roman Savchenko added a third at the other end to make the game safe with eight to play. Linus Videll maintained his personal run of form with a consolation goal late on, but there was no way back for Dinamo.
Neftekhimik made it three wins from four, while Spartak went down to a fourth loss in five in Tuesday’s late game.
The visitor took a first-period lead through Ilya Talaluyev, despite absorbing plenty of home pressure in the opening session. That pressure began to pay off after the intermission, though, as an early Pavel Padakin goal tied the scores. Padakin, whose start to the season was disrupted by a brief, fruitless spell at Ak Bars, potted his first goal for his new club in his fifth outing of the campaign.