All of Tuesday’s action came in the Far East. Amur got an early Christmas present with a 2-1 victory at home to Vityaz, then Red Star and SKA served up a cracker in Shanghai.
Amur snapped Vityaz’s six-game winning streak after turning this one around in the third period.
Both teams had their chances in the opening session, but while Amur failed to find a way past Joni Ortio, Vityaz edged in front thanks to an Alexei Makeyev goal. Things didn’t change much in the second period, with Ortio again frustrating the home offense as neither team could add to the scoring.
The final stanza ended Amur’s frustration, though. Valentin Pyanov tied the game in the 42nd minute when he was the first to react to a rebound in front of the net. Then a penalty on Bogdan Potekhin proved costly for the visitor. Tomas Zohorna converted the power play opportunity and that proved enough to win the game for Amur.
Few gave Red Star much of a chance coming into this game, but the Chinese team gave SKA’s powerful roster an almighty fright before finally succumbing.
After a goalless first period, Kunlun struck twice at the start of the second. The host’s fast counter-attacks were a problem for SKA all night, and Brandon Yip went through one-on-one to open the scoring. Soon afterwards, another breakaway saw Joonas Jarvinen shoot home from the blue line and the home crowd scented an upset.
But SKA’s quality is well known and it didn’t take long for the visitor to get back in the game. Nikita Gusev scored, collecting his 300thpoint in KHL regular season play, and Vyacheslav Gavrikov tied it up before the second intermission.
In the third period, Andrei Kuzmenko gave SKA the lead for the first time but Red Star continued to make a game of it. It took a David Rundblad goal in the 53rd minute to give the visitor some comfort, and there was still time for the teams to trade goals in the last minute of play.