Moscow was the focus of attention, with CSKA’s heavyweight clash against SKA ending in a home victory that puts the Red-and-Blues three points clear going into the international break. In the battle to get into the playoffs, Dynamo lost ground with a 2-1 loss at home to city rival Spartak. Ak Bars needed overtime to complete a comeback win at Torpedo while Artyom Manukyan had a day to remember as Avangard thumped Red Star 5-1.
Dynamo’s struggles against Spartak continued: this game was the sixth in a row that the Blue-and-Whites lost against their big city rival. A derby defeat is always hard to take, and Dynamo’s fans will be particularly sore after the team failed to take its chances in the first period. Julius Hudacek impressed in the Spartak net as the host made a lively but ultimately unsuccessful start to the game.
The middle stanza was goalless and Dynamo’s cause was hampered in the third when Vadim Shipachyov suffered an injury that kept him out of several shifts. However, the host did manage to tie the scores with five to play when Igor Makarov got his first for the club on a power play. It wasn’t enough. Last month, ex-Dynamo man Andrei Kuteikin sank his former team-mates; this time it was Kaspars Daugavins who scored the decisive goal against his old club. Dynamo remains outside the playoff places, Spartak climbs to fifth in the West.
Artyom Manukyan was Avangard’s star in a 5-1 victory over Kunlun Red Star. The young forward produced four assists as the Chernyshev Division leader went into the international break on a high.
In the opening frame, Avangard had to absorb some Red Star pressure but did a good job at limiting the visitor’s shooting chances and duly got in front when Ville Pokka scored in the 11th minute. The next score came in the 33rd minute when Manukyan fed Kirill Petrov for a goal in his 400th regular season game. Cody Franson was next to strike, giving Avangard a commanding 3-0 advantage at the second intermission.
Ilya Mikheyev’s unassisted marker made it 4-0 before Red Star’s leading scorer, Taylor Beck, finally got the visitor on the board. But there was to be no dramatic recovery: Manukyan collected his fourth point of the game with a helper as Maxim Chudinov made it 5-1.
Pavel Datsyuk returned for SKA after injury – but he could not conjure up a win that would put the Petersburg team on top of the Western Conference. Instead it was CSKA that moved three points clear after a decisive victory in this heavyweight clash.
The Moscow team had played just 24 hours earlier, crushing Jokerit 5-0 on Sunday, and the early indications suggested that SKA might be able to exploit some tired legs. A high-tempo start saw Dinar Khafizullin opened the scoring after five minutes, ending goalie Lars Johansson long unbeaten run on exactly 160 minutes. However, former SKA man Sergei Kalinin returned to haunt his old team-mates with a tying goal in the first period.
The game was won in the second. Maxim Shalunov and colleagues have been in fine form recently for CSKA and that line set up Konstantin Okulov for the go-ahead goal. Then came Jannik Hansen to make it 3-1 and establish a lead that SKA could never begin to recover.
For CSKA, it’s six wins in a row; for SKA, a number of in-form players saw their productive streaks come to an end. Nikita Gusev drew a blank after five games among the points; Maxim Karpov and Alexander Barabanov saw four-game runs halted in Moscow.
A fiery game in Nizhnekamsk ended with Salavat Yulaev snapping a three-game losing streak – but only after 102 minutes of penalties were handed out.
The visitor made the perfect start with Anton Burdasov opening the scoring after just 65 seconds. The next incident of note came midway through the second period when the host lost Nikolai Timashov, removed from the game for boarding. Neftekhimik survived that major penalty and went on to tie the scores through Ildar Shiksatdarov in the 49th minute.
Salavat Yulaev responded in decisive fashion. Just one minute separated goals for Pavel Koledov and Joonas Kemppainen as the visitor built up a winning lead. Two more fights saw Eduard Gimatov and Gleb Semyonov leave the game early; Dmitry Ogurtsov’s last-minute power play goal was not enough to save the host.
This was an evening of the unusual. Prior to the game, Vityaz had managed just four victories over Lokomotiv in 11 seasons of KHL action. Valery Belov’s team made it five tonight. Helping them to do it, though, was a goal from Alexander Shevchenko. The forward, who has mostly played VHL hockey with Dynamo St. Petersburg this season, featured in his first KHL game in almost three years – and scored in the first period.
That was part of a high-scoring affair that finished 2-2 and the teams continued to trade markers in the second. Denis Kokarev put Vityaz up, Stepan Sannikov made it 3-3. The winner came in the final frame from Alexander Nikulin, although it took a coach’s challenge from Belov to deny Lokomotiv an equalizer late in the game.
Ak Bars clawed back a two-goal deficit to snap Torpedo’s winning run thanks to an overtime goal from Artyom Lukoyanov 51 seconds into the extras.
Earlier in the game Lukoyanov picked up an assist as Alexei Potapov cancelled out Nikita Setdikov’s first-period opener – but the second session belonged to the host. Denis Barantsev celebrated his international call-up by putting Torpedo back in front and Daniil Ilyin made it 3-1 as Torpedo looked set for a fifth straight win.
Back came Ak Bars. Andrei Markov made it a one-goal game early in the third, then Alexander Burmistrov took it to the extras. The defending champion’s win keeps it in third place in the East; Torpedo drops to seventh, just behind Salavat Yulaev.
Barys is just three points behind Avangard in the Chernyshev Division and stands fourth in the Eastern Conference table after edging this game at Slovan.
The opening frame was cagey, with just seven shots between the two teams. In the second period, things livened up at once: Rudolf Cerveny put Slovan ahead early on, getting Jesse Blacker’s stick in his face for his pains, and a string of penalties ensured the game was never short of incident. Barys won it on two quick goals: Nikita Mikhailis converted a 5-on-3 power play chance to tie the scores then Dmitry Grents settled the issue just after the midway mark.
Slovan worked hard to find a tying goal in the third, but Dominik Hrachovina was equal to the task in the Barys net. The home team remains three points adrift of the playoff zone in the West, Barys looks strong in the East.