East: Chudinov scores from his own half, Ufa takes its chances. March 20 playoffs20 March 2019, 20:30
Metallurg and Spartak both hit seven in big wins over Torpedo and Sibir respectively. Kunlun Red Star came out on top in a seven-goal thriller against Admiral. Avangard extended Neftekhimik’s seven-game losing streak with a 2-1 win in Nizhnekamsk and Barys won 3-0 at Sochi.
Drew Shore marked his KHL debut with a goal and an assist as Red Star edged past Admiral by the odd goal in seven.
When the American forward got his first goal in this league, it seemed like a routine victory was in prospect for the host. Shore intercepted a wayward pass from Alexander Chernikov, skated past Alexander Ugolnikov and shot home to make it 3-0 for Kunlun. Earlier, Lucas Lockhart’s first of the season had given Red Star an early lead and Ondrej Vitasek had extended that advantage.
Admiral hit back, though, scoring three in eight minutes to tie the game. Stepan Zakharchuk, establishing himself in the time after a 15-game ban, got his first for the club, Denis Vikharev scored on Red Star for the second time in three days and Chernikov atoned for his error by levelling the scores. On Thursday, Admiral had come from behind to win in Shanghai; this time Red Star recovered and took the points thanks to Brandon Yip’s goal in the third period.
Metallurg returned to KHL action after its trip to Switzerland for the Spengler Cup – and duly overwhelmed Torpedo.
Sergei Mozyakin led the way with a hat-trick plus an assist, moving on to 42 points for the season and climbing to fifth in the scoring charts. Evgeny Timkin scored twice and there were further tallies for Matt Ellison and Nikolai Kulemin as Magnitka’s top line combined for five goals.
However, the game was not as one-sided as the final scoreline might suggest. Torpedo, with head coach David Nemirovsky suspended, took the lead in the 15th minute when Artyom Alyayev potted his first since joining the club. Mozyakin and Timkin took Metallurg into a 3-1 lead, but shortly after the midway point Anton Shenfeld made it 2-3. Two power play goals for the host late in the middle session took the game away from Torpedo at last and paved the way for a convincing victory.
Avangard inflicted an eighth consecutive defeat on Neftekhimik, with the host continuing to struggle under new head coach Vyacheslav Butsayev.
If there were positives for Butsayev to take from this game, they might have been about the character and resolve his team showed under intense pressure. In the first period, Avangard led the shot count by a massive 16-2, yet went into the intermission tied at 1-1. Ildar Shiksatdarov’s short-handed goal kept Neftekhimik level after Evgeny Medvedev gave the visitor the lead midway through the session.
Ilya Ezhov continued to be the busier of the goalies in the second period, performing well to keep Avangard at bay. However, he was beaten for a second time when Mikhail Fisenko potted the game-winner in the 44th minute. Neftekhimik pushed hard for a second equalizer but could not get past Igor Bobkov in the visitor’s net.
A goal in each period saw Barys to victory over a Sochi team that now has just three wins in its last nine and is starting to look like it could be embroiled in a fight to secure its playoff spot.
Darren Dietz opened the scoring with a 15th-minute power play goal. The defenseman fired home from the blue line with Dmitry Shikin screened. He then picked up an assist as Matt Frattin doubled the visitor’s advantage early in the second period.
The pressure forced Sochi into mistakes, and when Nikita Mikhailis pounced on a loose puck early in the third, he set up Curtis Valk to make it 3-0. The home team had its chances to get back into the game, but Henrik Karlsson’s 32 saves secured the win for the Kazakh club.
A blistering second-period performance led Spartak to its biggest win of the season and dealt a big blow to Sibir’s hopes of getting into the playoff picture in the East.
For 20 minutes, though, there was no sign of the goal explosion to come. Indeed, the visitor enjoyed the better of the opening session without managing to convert its superiority into goals. Then came the blast. Yaroslav Dyblenko and Ben Maxwell scored twice in the space of 12 seconds. Sibir switched goalies, but Alexei Krasikov fared little better. Vyacheslav Leshchenko soon added a third, Artyom Voronin potted a short-handed effort and Alexander Osipov added a fifth late in the frame.
In the third, Sibir again had more shots but could not beat Nikita Bespalov. The Spartak goalie made 35 saves to secure a shut-out against his former club, albeit helped by a video ruling that denied Sibir a goal in the second period. At the other end, Robin Hanzl and Martins Karsums extended Spartak’s lead to 7-0 and equal the Red-and-Whites’ biggest ever KHL victory.
East: Chudinov scores from his own half, Ufa takes its chances. March 20 playoffs 20 March 2019, 20:30