It was a day of close games – and one blow-out. CSKA was the big winner, thumping Traktor 6-0, but five out of seven games were settled by a one-goal margin. Dynamo Moscow’s 3-2 win at Ak Bars was the eye-catching result, Metallurg needed a late winner to sink Dinamo Minsk 4-3. Elsewhere in the East, Sibir and Sochi both made big but unsuccessful fightbacks in 4-5 losses against Severstal and Salavat Yulaev.
These two outsiders produced a feast of goals in Siberia, with Severstal claiming the verdict thanks to a late goal from Igor Geraskin.
The visitor, which is unbeaten in 2019 despite its lowly 11th place in the Western Conference, made a bright start and jumped into a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Vladislav Kodola and Yegor Babenko. A power play goal from Alexander Loginov reduced the deficit for Sibir before the first intermission.
The middle frame was almost a repeat of the first, with Severstal scoring twice more through Vadim Kudako and Carter Ashton. Sibir responded with a short-handed goal from Vladimir Pervushin but seemed destined for defeat.
In the final frame, though, the host hit back. Two goals in 90 seconds from Konstantin Klimontov (his first for Sibir) and Yegor Milovzorov tied the game with three-and-a-half minutes to go. But Geraskin had the final say. Severstal’s three-game winning run is its best of the season; four successive losses for Sibir may well spell the end for its playoff hopes.
HC Sochi battled back from 0-3 down but fell to a goal in the last seconds of overtime as Ufa kept up its reputation for high-scoring games.
Salavat Yulaev scored 21 goals in its previous four home games and quickly got on the scoring trail again here. Pyotr Khokhryakov made it 1-0 in the third minute, Zakhar Arzamastsev added a second in a first period that the host dominated. By the time Vyacheslav Solodukhin scored the third, the game looked to be out of sight for Sochi.
The visitor had other ideas. Jyrki Jokipakka scored on a delayed penalty late in the second, giving Sochi hope. Vladislav Kaletnik made it 2-3 early in the third, converting hope into belief. Arzamastsev’s second power play goal of the night gave Salavat more breathing space but two goals in 23 seconds saw Eric O’Dell and Sean Collins shoot Sochi level. The roller-coaster finally came to an end on 64:32 when Anton Burdasov’s power play goal gave him a second overtime winner in two days.
Metallurg made it seven wins in a row – hitting form at just the right time to tune up for the playoffs – but had to battle to the very end to see off Dinamo.
The teams traded early goals when Evgeny Lisovets put the visitor up only for Nikolai Kulemin to respond within a minute. Kulemin struck again on the power play early in the second, but late in the middle frame Dinamo produced a two-goal salvo to regain the lead. Andrei Kostitsyn tied it up before David Booth struck seconds before the hooter.
Magnitka responded in the third. Michal Bulir redirected a Roman Lyubimov shot through Mikhail Karnaukhov’s pads to tie the scores with 11 minutes to play. Then, in the 59th minute, Iiro Pakarinen got the vital touch on a Viktor Antipin shot to give the home team the win.
There were three goals in the last six minutes as Torpedo shot down Eastern Conference leader Avtomobilist to record only its second win in 10 games.
High-flying Avto took an early lead through Ilya Krikunov in the fourth minute and, for much of the game, that was the only difference between the teams. Jakub Kovar made 19 saves in the first period to keep his team ahead and there was no scoring in the middle session.
However, Torpedo finally solved Kovar five minutes into the final frame. Andrew Calof got the tying goal after a video review confirmed that he had not kicked the puck and the pattern of the game changed. Avto killed a penalty but went behind moments later when Artyom Alyayev found the net. Denis Parshin struck with 90 seconds left to make the game safe despite Krikunov’s last-minute consolation goal.
The defending champion was undone by the visitor’s fast start, with Bryukvin opening the scoring inside 90 seconds and Shipachyov doubling the lead in the eighth minute when he got the finishing touch on Artyom Volkov’s point shot. The second period brought another Dynamo goal. Shipachyov fired the puck into the danger zone, Vladislav Podyapolsky stretched a pad to deny Miks Indrasis but Bryukvin was on hand to score from the rebound.
Ak Bars rallied in the third but ran out of time before it could save the game. Artyom Lukoyanov pulled one back in the 44th minute and Stanislav Galiyev’s fine individual effort three minutes before the end set up a tense finale. Galiyev, though went from hero to villain when he picked up a boarding minor to stifle his team’s offense in those crucial closing moments.
League leader CSKA put Traktor to the sword in emphatic fashion, blitzing the visitor with two goals in the first three minutes on the way to a 6-0 victory.
Two goals apiece from Konstantin Okulov and Greg Scott led the way in an assured performance, Alexander Popov and Mikhail Naumenkov both had two helpers. Okulov got things started with the opener after 114 seconds, then Kirill Kaprizov doubled the home lead with home goalie Ilya Sorokin collecting an assist. Traktor’s starter, Alexander Sudnitsin, a shut-out hero against Ak Bars, was back on the bench with just 2:59 played.
Vasily Demchenko kept his goal intact for the rest of the first period but Traktor’s hopes of getting back into the game were extinguished late in the middle session. Okulov’s second of the game made it 3-0 before Andrei Svetlakov added a fourth on 37 minutes. The final frame began with Scott scoring twice in quick succession – the latter, on the power play, assisted by the impressive Okulov – as CSKA piled up the goals. Sorokin made 19 saves for his shut-out.
Playoff chasing Vityaz wasted little time in taking control of this game and duly skated to a third successive win. That lifts Valery Belov’s team four points clear of Dinamo Riga.
Alexander Semin was the difference maker, scoring twice in the first seven minutes to put Vityaz on top from the start. Michal Repik assisted on the second of those as he returned to his former club for the first time since his deadline day move to Vityaz.
Slovan introduced understudy goalie Marek Ciliak but he could not prevent Ilya Shinkevich from making it 3-0 in the 14th minute. It wasn’t until the second period that the home team threatened to get back into the game, reducing the deficit thanks to Kyle Chipchura’s goal on the half hour. However, the home team was unable to make further inroads and Vityaz took the verdict.