Sunday brought three games – including a heavyweight clash in the Western Conference – and ended with three identical scorelines. Every match-up finished with a 2-1 victory for the away team, two in overtime and a third after a shoot-out.
CSKA moves three points clear at the top of the Western Conference after winning the day’s big clash in St. Petersburg. This shoot-out success saw Igor Nikitin’s men extend their lead over SKA thanks to Maxim Shalunov’s skills in one-on-one duels with Magnus Hellberg.
Shalunov had three attempts in the shoot-out and converted all three. First, he tied it up at 2-2 in the fifth round of shots. Then, with the series moving to sudden death, he cancelled out a Pavel Datsyuk score to keep CSKA in the game before winning it for the visitor after Nikita Gusev was denied by Ilya Sorokin.
That decided a close-fought game, although SKA may well feel it had chances enough to win it in regulation. The home team fell behind in the first period when Sergei Andronov got a touch on Nikita Nesterov’s wrister from the blue line to beat Hellberg. But if CSKA had the better of the opening exchanges, SKA was the stronger for much of the rest of the game. There was a big moment for Andrei Kuzmenko early in the second period as he forced home the tying goal against his former club: Sorokin could not hold Vladislav Gavrikov’s shot and Kuzmenko was alert on the slot to put the puck into the roof of the net. From that point on, Sorokin was the busier of the goalies but the CSKA man held firm to take the game all the way to a shoot-out and Shalunov’s solo show.
Avtomobilist reinforced its credentials as the KHL’s pacesetter with an overtime victory over Lokomotiv.
The two goals in regulation both came in the first period – and both featured a contribution from Lokomotiv’s Brandon Kozun. The first was one he’d rather forget: pressured by Ivan Vishnevsky behind his own net, the forward coughed up the puck and Maxim Rasseikin took advantage to open the scoring in the sixth minute. Within a few minutes, though, he made amends, reacting quickly to a Maxim Osipov shot and forcing the puck home even as he fell to the ice.
That was the end of the scoring in regulation but in overtime Avtomobilist found another gear to dominate the play. The winning goal went to Dan Sexton 20 seconds before the end, firing home a Rasseikin feed as Yegor Averin lay injured next to his own net.
Sergei Mozyakin was Metallurg’s game-winner as Josef Jandac saw his team record back-to-back wins after a three-game losing streak.
The KHL’s record scorer started out with an assist midway through this game as Evgeny Timkin opened the scoring for the visitor. That lead was short-lived, however, as Yury Trubachyov potted a power play goal for Severstal late in the second period.
However, a penalty on Trubachyov in overtime cost Severstal dear. Mozyakin scored his fifth game-winner of the season, firing home a one-timer off a Matt Ellison feed to give Metallurg the win. Recent signing Nick Shore made his debut for Magnitka in this game and joined Pavel Dorofeyev and Andrei Chibisov on the third line. The newcomer had one shot on goal in almost 16 minutes of ice time.