SKA’s offense caught fire in the second period to lead the team to a 4-0 win at Lokomotiv. That result, coupled with Dinamo Riga’s loss in Ufa, means the Army Men are the third team to guarantee a post season berth. Kunlun Red Star kept alive its hopes of making the playoffs, winning 3-1 at Barys. Admiral defeated Amur by the same scoreline in the Far East derby.
Admiral got the win in the latest Far East derby, moving to within two points of its local rival at the foot of the Eastern Conference table.
Neither team came into the game in great form. Admiral had lost its last two, while Amur suffered five defeats in its last six. But the home team got an early boost when Alexander Streltsov opened the scoring in the third minute. Amur tied it up midway through the game when Alexander Gorshkov scored on his team’s second power play of the game but Admiral restored its lead late in the second period when Alexander Konnov got his first KHL goal. Konstantin Glazachev added a third in the 52nd minute to seal a second derby win of the season for the Sailors.
Red Star got its first ever win in Kazakhstan, avenging last month’s 1-4 loss against Barys and keeping in touch with the playoff pack in the Eastern Conference.
It wasn’t exactly plain sailing for the visitor early on, with Alexei Maklyukov putting Barys ahead in the first minute. But the home team then ran into penalty trouble and Red Star turned the game around with two power play goals in three minutes. Patrik Lundh got the first, with a helper from Sam Lofquist as the defenseman collected his seventh point in six games since returning to the KHL. Then Brandon Yip got his first of the game, assisted by Martin St.Pierre against one of his former clubs.
Barys piled up the pressure on offense. In total the host had 70 attempts on the Kunlun net, but 20 of them were blocked by defensemen and Tomi Karhunen made 32 saves to frustrate the home forwards. Eventually, Yip shot his second of the game into an empty net to secure the points for Red Star; the Chinese team is just two points adrift of a playoff place with a run of seven home games to come.
Ufa is set to host back-to-back games, and Salavat Yulaev got things started with a win – but only after going to overtime against the Latvians.
Dinamo arrived without its leading scorers Linus Videll and Mathew Maione but still found the firepower to rally from 0-2 down and tie the game in the first period. A fine individual goal from Linus Omark put the home team ahead, Vladimir Tkachyov scored off a pass from Anton Burdasov behind the net and the home team looked to be in control. Then came a dazzling double blast: Lauris Darzins and Martins Dzierkals scored two goals in 17 seconds to put the game right back in the balance.
The next two periods were goalless, thanks largely to 20 saves from visiting goalie Timur Bilyalov. But he was beaten at last in overtime when Tkachyov turned provider for Burdasov to pot the decisive marker.
A strong second period performance saw SKA collect the win that assures it of a place in this season’s playoffs. Four unanswered goals in the middle session put the game beyond Lokomotiv’s reach and cost Dmitry Kvartalnov’s team the chance to overtake Jokerit into third place in the West.
The first period finished goalless despite Lokomotiv having the slight edge over the opposition. Early in the second, though, Nikita Cherepanov took a tripping minor and Anton Belov converted the power play to give SKA the lead. The visitor never looked back and Andrei Kuzmenko soon doubled the advantage. Then Nail Yakupov scored twice to take his goal tally to 16 for the season. The forward is rattling along at better than one goal every two games; it says much for his potential productivity that he is not always felt to be at the peak of his form this season.
Lokomotiv, which welcomed back World Junior Bronze medallists Kirill Slepets and Grigory Denisenko, could not find an answer. Igor Shestyorkin finished the game with 31 saves as the home team endured a frustrating evening.