CSKA Moscow has been unbeatable against its city rivals and today’s 4-3 win at Spartak stretched the Army Men’s winning run to 15 games. Elsewhere, Nigel Dawes put up five points as he returned to Astana and helped Avtomobilist win 7-2 at Barys. Elsewhere, Dynamo Moscow made it four wins in a row with victory at Torpedo, Metallurg came from behind to defeat Avangard, but Dinamo Riga lost out to a solitary goal in Chelyabinsk.
Nigel Dawes enjoyed a triumphant return to Astana as he picked up five points in Avtomobilist’s emphatic victory.
The forward was a popular figure for many seasons in Kazakhstan, where he was regularly among the leading scorers for Barys. Today he returned in unfamiliar colors, but duly delivered another offensive masterclass. He finished with two goals and three assists to lead the Eastern Conference leader to a 7-2 win over his former club.
There were other big scoring performances from Dawes’ linemates. Stephane Da Costa had two goals and two assists, Anatoly Golyshev finished with 1+3. Alexander Kucheryavenko and Artyom Gareyev completed the Avtomobilist scoring, Pavel Akolzin and Curtis Valk got the consolation goals for Barys.
Salavat Yulaev’s problems continue with another defeat and another low-scoring game. The Ufa team had lost three of its last four without scoring and managed just one here in defeat against the Eastern Conference’s last-placed team.
Head coach Nikolai Tsulygin admitted that his team was finding it hard to score at the moment, and opted to rest influential Swedish forward Linus Omark, for this game, but added that on defense the Ufa side was performing reliably. That defense was tested today when Anton Burdasov took his third 5+20 penalty of the season; the home PK saw off that major penalty early in the third period.
Before that, Burdasov claimed an assist as Phillip Larsen tied the game late in the middle frame. The Danish D-man cancelled out an opener from Admiral’s Alexander Chernikov and ultimately took the game into the extras. There was no further scoring from open play and the shoot-out proved to be a protracted affair. There were 19 failed attempts before Vladimir Butuzov finally found the net to win the game for the visitor.
Traktor closed to within two points of a playoff place thanks to a hard-fought victory at home to Dinamo Riga.
For the Latvians, however, fresh from the KHL World Games in Zurich, this was a missed opportunity to gain some breathing space in a tight battle for the top eight in the Western Conference. Dinamo remains in eighth place, but is level on points with Vityaz and three behind Dynamo Moscow in seventh.
The only goal in this game arrived in the 52nd minute. Traktor’s fourth line, which had been effective all through the game, combined once again. Marsel Sholokhov’s shot was deflected into the net by Alexander Sharov and, after a video review confirmed the play was good, that proved sufficient to win the game. Vasily Demchenko had 24 saves to record his second shut-out of the season.
Two goals from Andrei Alexeyev in the third period saw Dynamo come from behind to record a fourth straight victory. The victory moves the Blue-and-Whites three points clear of the chasing pack in the Western Conference playoff race.
Torpedo came into the game on the back of two losses, but made a bright start and took a 10th minute lead through Mikhail Smolin. The 21-year-old got his second goal of the season and the fifth of his KHL career to date. Dynamo tied it up in the second period thanks to Vladislav Yefremov’s first of the season, but Damir Zhafyarov restored the home lead, making it four goals in three games for him.
However, Zhafyarov’s streak has coincided with a slump for his team and Alexeyev turned the game around in the final stanza.
CSKA maintained its winning form in Moscow derbies and extended its unbeaten streak to 15 games with victory at Spartak.
The Army Men had already defeated Spartak once this season, and had two victories over Dynamo, so today’s result makes it four from four in capital city clashes. However, this was far from easy for the league leader as Spartak battled all the way.
Everything was going to script for CSKA when Maxim Shalunov potted an early power play goal, but the host recovered to lead at the first intermission. Anatoly Nikontsev and Ilya Zubov got the goals, adding to the three they shared in the previous game at home to Severstal.
The second period turned it upside down with the visitor scoring three unanswered goals. Once again, the CSKA power play made the difference. First, Mikhail Grigorenko tied it up, then Kirill Kaprizov gave the Army Men a 3-2 lead. Alexander Popov got the first even strength goal of the game for the visitor to make it 4-2 in the 33rd minute. That still wasn’t the end of Spartak, with Yaroslav Dyblenko pulling it back to 3-4 early in the third period. But the home team was unable to raise the tempo and in the closing stages a pair of penalties left it hamstrung when the time came for a final surge.
The latest crunch clash in the Eastern Conference saw Metallurg come from behind to overcome Avangard. The win puts Magnitka one point ahead of the Hawks, but the Omsk team holds on to second place by virtue of leading the Chernyshev Division.
The first period was goalless, but the action stepped up in the middle frame. Sergei Shirokov opened the scoring when he came flying into the Metallurg zone and fired past Artyom Zagidulin in the visitor’s net. But the lead did not last long: Sergei Mozyakin scored on the power play, letting fly with a one-timer off a Dennis Rasmussen feed.
Metallurg was shading the play in the later stages of the game and the visitor got its reward midway through the third period. Rasmussen was involved again, winning the puck behind the net and playing it out for Iiro Pakarinen to score. Magnitka had to kill a 2+2 penalty on Matt Ellison before it could close out its fourth successive win.
A late Maxim Rybin goal handed Severstal its first win in seven games and lifted the Steelmen off the foot of the Western Conference. Neftekhimik lost ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race, dropping to 10th place behind Traktor and failing to close a three-point gap on Kunlun Red Star.
Rybin claimed the decisive goal three minutes from the end, snapping a 2-2 tie. Earlier, the visitor took a 10th-minute lead through Alexander Shcherbina but Mikael Ruohomaa tied it up at the start of the second period.
An unassisted goal from Oleg Yashin restored Severstal’s advantage in the 31st minute but Neftekhimik once again tied the scores when Gleb Semyonov found the net in the 45th minute. However, the home team could not find a way to snap its losing streak: Neftekhimik has lost five in a row.