Andy Potts Andy Potts
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SKA travelled to Helsinki to take on Western Conference rival Jokerit and left with a decisive 4-1 victory. Three quick goals either side of the first intermission settled that one. In Ufa, things went better for Finns with Joonas Kemppainen grabbing his first KHL hat-trick and Teemu Hartikainen collecting three points in a 6-1 win. CSKA won its six game in a row, Avtomobilist blanked Traktor and Dinamo Riga became the first visiting team to win at Dynamo Moscow’s new home.

Kemppainen leads Salavat Yulaev to victory

Salavat Yulaev Ufa 6 Amur Khabarovsk 1 (2-0, 3-0, 1-1)

Joonas Kemppainen blasted his first KHL hat-trick as Salavat Yulaev ran riot at home to Amur.

The Finnish center began with an assist as his compatriot Teemu Hartikainen opened the scoring midway through the first period. Then he potted his first of the night on the power play late in that opening frame.

The middle session brought two more power play goals, with Linus Omark making it 3-0 and Kemppainen getting his second of the game. In between, Alexander Kadeikin found the Amur net with the only goal of the evening that involved neither Hartikainen nor Kemppainen. The teams exchanged goals in the third period. Alexander Kuznetsov got the visitor on the board before Kemppainen completed his treble to wrap up an impressive victory. The Ufa team has now won 5-0 and 6-1 in its last two home games; Kunlun Red Star visits on Tuesday looking to put up more of a fight.

Something old, something new

Traktor Chelyabinsk 0 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 2 (0-0, 0-1, 0-1)

Denis Kazionov got his first goal since joining Avto from Dinamo Minsk, setting the Eastern Conference leader on the way to success in Chelyabinsk. But, for the sixth time this season, it was excellent goaltending from Jakub Kovar that secured a shut-out.

Photo: 06.01.19. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Traktor (Chelyabinsk) - Avtomobilist (Yekaterinburg)

The Czech has been a huge part of Avtomobilist’s rise in 2018-19 – so much so that his absence through injured prompted the team’s only run of poor form to date. Here, once again, he was in dominant mood as he turned away 36 shots to frustrate the host.

Kazionov broke the deadlock in the 34th minute, finding a chink in Vasily Demchenko’s armor as he shot home following a face-off. The game remained in the balance, with Kovar preserving the visitor’s lead, until Ilya Krikunov found the empty net to seal the points for the visitor.

Nakladal breaks Bratislava’s resistance

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 1 Slovan Bratislava 0 (0-0, 0-0, 1-0)

Lokomotiv has been affected more than most by call-ups to Russia’s World Junior Championship roster – and while Yaroslavl waits to welcome home its bronze medallists, the team found life tough against Slovan.

The Bratislava team is currently bottom of the Western Conference and, on paper, the game seemed set to produce a routine home victory. However, the visitor worked Lokomotiv hard, having the better of the first period and almost snatching the lead when a Chad Rau effort hit the post.

Loko improved as the game went on and began to get on top in the second period. However, it took a late power play goal from Jakub Nakladal to finally beat Marek Ciliak and give the Railwaymen the lead. Home goalie Ilya Konovalov made 24 saves to complete his shut-out, Ciliak’s 37 stops weren’t quite enough to get something from this game.

Riga crashes Dynamo’s new home

Dynamo Moscow 1 Dinamo Riga 2 OT (0-0, 1-0, 0-1, 0-1)

Dinamo Riga became the first visiting team to win at Dynamo Moscow’s new home – and kept up its record as the Muscovites’ bogey team this season.

Photo: 06.01.19. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Dynamo (Moscow) - Dinamo (Riga)

This was the Latvians’ third win against the Blue-and-Whites; Dynamo has won seven of its last nine with both losses coming against Riga. The result lifts Girts Ankipans’ team level on points with eighth-placed Vityaz as the playoff race intensifies.

The visitor left it late, though. Alexei Pepelyayev’s 22nd-minute goal put the host in front with Aslan Raisov getting his second assist in his second KHL appearance. That lead lasted until deep into the third period before Linus Videll set up Lauris Darzins for the tying goal in the 55thminute. Darzins became the first opposition player to score on Dynamo here and when Riga got a power play in overtime, Andris Dzerins potted the winner.

Six straight wins for CSKA

Dinamo Minsk 1 CSKA Moscow 2 (0-1, 0-1, 1-0)

CSKA posted a sixth successive victory to stay out in front in this season’s standings. But the Army Men had to withstand a siege on Ilya Sorokin’s net in the third period to close out a one-goal win against a Minsk team that is starting to look better than its league position might suggest.

The early stages went according to expectations. CSKA was rampant in the first period, outshooting Dinamo 18-1 and totally controlling the play. The only surprise was that Artyom Blazhiyevsky’s power play goal was the only tangible reward for the visitor’s play. The middle frame was scarcely any more competitive but again CSKA managed just one goal. Maxim Shalunov was the scorer to make it 2-0.

That meant that, against the odds, the host still had a chance of saving the game. In the third period, it went all out to do so. Again, the shot count was lopsided; this time, though, the 13-1 margin was in Dinamo’s favor. CSKA dug deep, Sorokin got close to a shut-out, but Patrick Wiercioch’s late power play goal kept the host in contention until the very end.

SKA’s triple salvo downs Jokerit

Jokerit Helsinki 1 SKA St. Petersburg 4 (1-3, 0-1, 0-0)

SKA proved too strong for Jokerit in the headline bout of the day. The Finns missed the chance to close on second place after giving up too much ground in the first period and the Army Men ensured that the host could not get back into the game.

Photo: 06.01.19. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Jokerit (Helsinki) - SKA (St.Petersburg)

The key action came either side of the first intermission. The teams were locked at 1-1 after Alexander Dergachyov’s short-handed goal was immediately cancelled out by Niklas Jensen on the PP for Jokerit. Then came a triple blast. Nikolai Prokhorkin scored twice in the last two minutes of the first period to give SKA a clear lead; Nikita Gusev assisted on both. And 106 seconds into the middle session, Alexander Barabanov made it 4-1.

SKA thought it had another goal in the third period when Pavel Datsyuk set up Sergei Plotnikov, but the video review found an offside in the build-up. It made little difference to the final outcome, with SKA moving on to its fifth successive win.

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Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl)
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