The race for a playoff place in the Western Conference is tighter than ever. From seventh-placed Vityaz to Severstal in 11th the gap is just two points. Dynamo Moscow’s win at Salavat Yulaev puts it right in the thick of that battle, while near namesake Dinamo Minsk is still a mere seven points away despite falling to an 11th consecutive loss on Monday. HC Sochi moved away from the battleground with a 2-1 win at Lokomotiv to put it fifth.
This game was a repeat of the teams’ opening game of the season – and it produced a scoreline that mirrored September’s encounter. Back then, Salavat took the verdict in overtime: Anton Burdasov played a big role with a late tying goal and an assist on the overtime winner. Burdasov, though, was absent here as he served a one-game suspension.
The first period was goalless, although it took a fine save from Alexander Yeryomenko to prevent Linus Omark giving the host the lead. In the second frame, both teams scored twice: Vyacheslav Osnovin and Pyotr Khokhryakov twice put Salavat Yulaev ahead; Evgeny Mozer and Vyacheslav Kulyomin twice got Dynamo back on level terms. There was no more scoring in regulation, but Dynamo gradually asserted itself over the opposition as the game wore on.
In overtime, Patrik Zackrisson potted the winner. The Swede scored for the second game running, having previously gone 17 without a goal. The run echoed Osnovin’s recent return to scoring form but the home forward was hardly in a place to appreciate that symmetry after his error presented the Dynamo man with the decisive chance in the 62nd minute.
Dinamo’s miserable form continues. This loss was the 11th in a row for the Belarusian team and the result leaves it rooted to the foot of the Western Conference table. For Amur, though, it was a second victory in three games to raise hopes that the Tigers could yet prowl into the playoff race in the East.
The writing was on the wall for Dinamo early on. In the third minute Amur went ahead when Igor Rudenkov scored off a Pavel Dedunov assist. Dedunov would go on to score twice for himself in the second period, but before that Valentin Pyanov’s power play goal gave the visitor a 2-0 lead at the first break.
Dedunov’s double was separated by a Teemu Pulkkinen strike for the host but there was little sign of a significant fightback. Jhonas Enroth was called to the bench but his replacement, Mikhail Karnaukhov, lasted just 19 seconds before Danil Faizullin added a fifth for Amur.
Lokomotiv missed the chance to close on the leaders in the Western Conference when it slipped up at home to HC Sochi. The visitor came from behind to take a win that lifts it above Spartak into fifth place.
Loko, enjoying a run of just one loss in eight (and that in overtime against leader Avtomobilist), took the lead in this game in the sixth minute through Czech defenseman Jakub Nakladal. The home team also outshot Sochi throughout the game but was unable to score on Dmitry Shikin a second time.
Sochi, meanwhile, bided its time, hung in there and took the chances when they came. Sergei Shmelyov tied the scores in the 26thminute and Yegor Rykov got the winner seconds into the final frame. From that point on, it was all about discipline. Sochi stayed out of the box, dealt with Lokomotiv’s offense and picked up the win. Shikov finished with 51 saves to frustrate the home side.