It was a big day for one of the KHL’s biggest stars, but Avtomobilist crashed Sergei Mozyakin’s party to stretch its winning streak to 16 games. At the other end of the spectrum, young Lokomotiv goalie Ilya Konovalov claimed his first ever shut-out to beat SKA in overtime. CSKA made it 10 wins in a row with victory over Dynamo in the Moscow derby, Jokerit downed Vityaz in Helsinki.
Sergei Mozyakin’s 1000th appearance in Russian championship action ended in disappointment as Avtomobilist kept up its winning start to the season. The home team came into Wednesday’s fixture on the back of the six-game winning streak of its own, but found no way to deny Avto a 16th successive victory.
The damage was done early. Inside 23 minutes, the visitor jumped to a 3-0 lead and chased starting goalie Artyom Zagidulin from the net. Georgy Belousov, Nigel Dawes and Stepan Khripunov all scored; for Dawes, the goal extended his productive run to nine games.
Once Vasily Koshechkin took over in goal, Metallurg attempted to find a way back into the game. But little went right for the home team. Avtomobilist extended its lead with a power play goal from Francis Pare before Viktor Antipin denied Jakub Kovar a shut-out with a consolation tally for the host.
The final scoreline was comfortable for Jokerit – but this game was in the balance until the last couple of minutes as visiting goalie Joni Ortio impressed on his return to his homeland.
The Finn kept his team in contention for much of this game, despite Jokerit enjoying the bulk of the possession and scoring chances. The first period was goalless, and even after Jesse Joensuu gave Jokerit the lead early in the second, Vityaz did not roll over. Instead, a breakaway effort from Denis Kokarev tied the game going into the final session.
Brian O’Neill restored Jokerit’s lead early in the third, but Janis Kalnins came up with some big saves to keep Vityaz at bay. The lead remained precarious until the closing minutes, but a power play goal from John Norman and a short-handed empty-netter for Mika Niemi saw Jokerit safely over the line.
Three goals in 90 seconds settled this Moscow derby and, for the second time this season, CSKA walked away with the local bragging rights.
The Army Men led this game from the third minute, but Dynamo stayed in contention until the beginning of the final session. Then, however, CSKA found another gear and blew away the Blue-and-Whites with a scoring salvo.
First, Maxim Shalunov broke up a Dynamo attack and exchanged passes with Alexander Popov before drawing Alexander Yeryomenko out of position and making it 3-1. Just 15 seconds later, Sergei Andronov smashed home a one-timer as Anton Slepyshev launched a raid deep into Dynamo territory. That was Andronov’s second of the game, and 75 seconds later Kirill Kaprizov potted his second of the night. The youngster flipped a wicked wrister over Yeryomenko’s shoulder as CSKA’s swift transition from defense to attack once again left the visitor chasing shadows. That was the end of Yeryomenko’s evening and also the end of the scoring.
Earlier, Andronov gave CSKA an early lead. Kaprizov doubled the advantage early in the second period, but Dynamo threatened to get back into it when Vitaly Menshikov scored late in the middle frame to make it 1-2. However, there was no stopping CSKA as the Army Men recorded a 10th successive victory and moved two points clear at the top of the Western Conference.
Ilya Konovalov is showing signs of being the next big-name Russian goalie. The 20-year-old from Yaroslavl, who backstopped Loko to MHL glory in last season’s playoffs, is enjoying something of a breakout campaign in the KHL. Tonight, he produced his most eye-catching performance yet in St. Petersburg.
Today the youngster frustrated the second most prolific offense in the Western Conference, making 37 saves to drag SKA to overtime. Then it was over to Andrei Loktionov for the winning goal, getting on a breakaway launched by Jakub Nakladal’s pass and beating Magnus Hellberg to grab the points for the visitor.
SKA loss pushes it behind Jokerit into third place in the West; Lokomotiv is three points back in fourth.