Astana (16:30 msk)
Astana (14:00 msk)
The top game of the day saw SKA’s power play deliver a tight victory at home to Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Jokerit tightened its grip on third place in the Western Conference with a 4-3 win at home to fourth-placed Lokomotiv. In the East, Sibir celebrated back-to-back wins for the first time this season while Barys lacked the firepower to defeat Salavat Yulaev.
Sibir’s steady improvement continues: today’s win made it back-to-back victories for the first time this season and lifted the Siberian team three points clear of basement club Admiral.
For the second time this season, the teams shared a wild ride as Sibir avenged its 3-6 loss in Moscow. The first half-hour was tight; Miks Indrasis put Dynamo up early on, Vladimir Pervushin and Jukka Peltonen turned it around for Sibir and Vyacheslav Kulyomin tied the scores for the visitor in the 33rd minute.
Then came a decisive passage of play. In the space of 27 seconds, Nikita Mikhailov restored Sibir’s lead, Dynamo took a penalty and Jordan Caron potted his first KHL goal since arriving in Novosibirsk. When Gleb Zyryanov stretched the lead to 5-2 with 11 minutes to play, Sibir looked to be home and hosed.
However, Dmitry Kagarlitsky had other ideas. In his 400th KHL game he and strike partner Vadim Shipachyov hauled Dynamo back into the game. Kagarlitsky potted Dynamo’s fourth to make it a one-goal game and, in the process, brought up 100 markers in regular season play. But an empty-net goal from Alexander Sharov snuffed out the recovery and secured the points for Sibir.
Clinical finishing and good goaltending made the difference for Salavat Yulaev in a game that was even in all areas – except for the scoreboard.
The teams shared 61 shots on goal – Juha Metsola stopped all 30 of Barys’ attempts while the visitor twice beat Henrik Karlsson and added an empty net tally for good measure. Teemu Hartikainen’s power play goal opened the scoring in the 26th minute before Pavel Koledov doubled the lead in the second period. Artyom Sergeyev wrapped it up late on.
Barys will point to an injury crisis that robbed it of several key players. Had the likes of Brandon Bochenski, Patrice Cormier, Andre Petersson or Matt Frattin been available, the home team might have been better able to convert its chances. After all, that quartet has contributed 82 points so far this season. Today’s understudies were unable to match that kind of form and Barys missed the chance to join Avangard on top of the Chernyshev Division.
Maxim Karpov scored his fifth goal in four games to lift SKA past Magnitka in this clash of two KHL powerhouses.
The match-up was a repeat of the 2017 Gagarin Cup Final, and pitted two teams with two championships to their name against one another. It also offered SKA the chance to close on Western Conference leader CSKA while Metallurg looked to consolidate third place in the East as everyone chases Avtomobilist for top spot.
In the event, it was decided by SKA’s special teams. The host had three power play opportunities and converted two of them. Anton Belov was the first beneficiary, firing home a Nikita Gusev feed after Yakov Rylov took the first penalty of the game. Andrei Chibisov tied the scores before Metallurg got its first power play; SKA’s PK held firm and when Alexei Bereglazov incurred the wrath of the officials the home team restored its lead five minutes before the second intermission. Gusev was involved again before Nikolai Prokhorkin’s pass from behind the net sat invitingly for Karpov to shoot home from the left-hand circle.
That was the end of the scoring: there were few chances in the final frame, even when SKA got another power play. The host is now just one point off the top of the Western Conference.
Jokerit held on to defeat Lokomotiv and secure its grip on third place in the Western Conference. The Railwaymen arrived in town knowing that victory would lift them above the Finns – but they fell short in a high-scoring game.
The start was breathless, with the teams trading five goals in 24 minutes. Brian O’Neill was awake from the off, scoring after 24 seconds and assisting on John Norman’s 11th-minute goal as Jokerit jumped to a 2-0 lead. Jesse Joensuu had two helpers. But Loko quickly got back on track and goals from Jakub Nakladal and Andrei Loktionov saw the teams go into the intermission tied at 2-2.
Pekka Jormakka’s 24th-minute tally put Jokerit back in front and finally the scoring express slowed down. That was the only goal of the second period and when Alex Grant made it 4-2 for the host early in the third, the end result seemed clear. Lokomotiv still had one more card to play and Brandon Kozun made it 4-3 with three minutes left; Loktionov’s assist took him to three points from two games. However, the Finns held on in a tense finale and now hold a two-point cushion in third place.