Jokerit suffered a narrow loss at Metallurg, going down 2-3 to the Eastern Conference team. SKA had an unexpectedly tough time at home to Amur, retrieving a 0-2 deficit to win. Nigel Dawes scored twice as Avtomobilist eased past Sochi.
Jokerit arrived in Magnitogorsk without Niklas Jensen. The Danish forward, second-top scorer for the Finns this season, picked up an injury in Wednesday’s game at Avtomobilist and faces up to six weeks out of action. For Magnitka, back-to-back wins had the team on a high going into this one – and the home team kept up its winning form.
The second period was also tight, with just one goal coming. Dennis Rasmussen was the scorer but it owed much to a fantastic no-look pass from Michal Bulir as Metallurg took the lead. The home team extended its advantage in the third with a somewhat freakish tally. Viktor Antipin claimed it after Oliver Lauridsen attempted to swat away the home D-man’s shot but succeeded only in diverting the puck past Ryan Zapolski.
Jokerit battled hard to get back into the game and Sami Lepisto reduced the deficit in the closing stages, but Metallurg held on for a third successive victory.
One of the more curious stats in the KHL was Avtomobilist’s failure to win a home game against HC Sochi. However, the current line-up in Yekaterinburg is made of sterner stuff and Friday’s game ended in a comfortable home win.
The first period was fairly even on the ice, but Avto’s clinical finishing made the difference. First Nigel Dawes showed his class in front of the net to open the scoring on the power play. Next, Stephane Da Costa made it 2-0 with a well-placed wrist shot to give the home team a comfortable lead at the first intermission.
The middle frame followed a similar pattern, and Anatoly Golyshev extended Avtomobilist’s advantage. In the third, Sochi finally got on the scoreboard and managed to exert some pressure on Jakub Kovar’s net. However, it proved to be in vain when Dawes put his second of the night into an empty net.
Amur threatened to spring a surprise in St. Petersburg, but Alexander Barabanov scored twice to lead SKA to victory.
The opening stages of this game saw the home team in complete control – but unable to put the puck in the net in a goalless first period. Amur managed just two shots at Igor Shestyorkin as the SKA goalie played his 100th regular-season game in the KHL. Thus it was something of a shock when the visitor suddenly grabbed two goals at the start of the second stanza. Czech duo Michal Jordan and Tomas Zohorna stunned the host with a quickfire pair.
By the end of the middle frame, SKA had reasserted its dominance of the play. In the third,, the host turned the game around. Barabanov’s impressive solo effort reduced the deficit in the 45th minute, Nikita Gusev’s superb feed set up Artyom Zub to tie the game six minutes later. Barabanov got the winner, redirecting the puck for a power play goal in the closing stages to give SKA the points.