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Barys and Metallurg became the latest teams to reach the playoffs. Barys got there with a 1-0 overtime win over Salavat Yulaev, while Magnitka’s place was confirmed early in the day when Red Star lost to Lokomotiv. That game saw the KHL’s first Chinese goalie – Sun Zehao played two periods in a 1-5 reverse. CSKA won the battle of the conference leaders and its 3-0 verdict over Avtomobilist makes it four games in a row where the opposition hasn’t scored. SKA beat Dynamo Moscow for the fourth time this season, Jokerit edged Amur 5-4 in a shoot-out and Metallurg celebrated its playoff place with a win in Riga.

Six in a row for Severstal

Admiral Vladivostok 2 Severstal Cherepovets 4 (1-1, 0-2, 1-1)

Severstal made it six wins from six in 2019 with Andrei Razin continuing his successful streak in charge of the team. It’s probably too late to salvage a bid for the playoffs, but the recent resurgence has at least hauled the team away from the foot of the Western Conference.

The home team enjoyed more of the play in the opening frame but fell behind to a Carter Ashton goal and only tied it up in the 18th minute with a Sergei Konkov power play effort. The second period saw Severstal pick up a decisive lead, scoring unanswered goals from Evgeny Lapenkov and Yegor Babenko.

Admiral threatened a fightback when Denis Vikharev reduced the deficit early in the third, but Sergei Monakhov restored the two-goal advantage as Severstal closed out the win.

Jokerit wins a lively battle

Amur Khabarovsk 4 Jokerit Helsinki 5 SO (1-0, 1-1, 2-3, 0-0, 0-1)

An entertaining game in Khabarovsk saw Jokerit come from behind to win in a shoot-out.

Amur took a 2-0 lead with goals either side of the first intermission from Tomas Zohorna and Dmitry Shvidenko. The visitor responded through Kristian Vesalainen and Steve Moses to have the game all square early in the third.

Twice more the home side led, with power play goals from Anton Lazarev and Valentin Pyanov, but Jokerit hit back both times to force overtime. Niklas Jensen’s scoring run continued and Moses potted his second of the game. Jensen and Moses scored Jokerit’s first two attempts in the shoot-out, prompting Amur to change goalies. Brian O’Neill slotted the game-winner past Alexei Murygin.

Two young goalies

Kunlun Red Star 1 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 5 (0-3, 0-1, 1-1)

For Lokomotiv, this was a first KHL start for Daniil Isayev. The 19-year-old goalie got the nod ahead of the impressive Ilya Konovalov and duly helped his team to a comfortable win. For Red Star, meanwhile, this turned into a historic occasion when 23-year-old Sun Zehao took to the ice after the first intermission. Zehao, from Harbin, became the first Chinese-born goalie to play in the league.

The youngster let nobody down. Red Star was already 0-3 down at the first intermission, a short-handed goal from Andrei Loktionov four seconds before the interval persuaded Jussi Tapola to replace Tomi Karhunen. A well-worked Brandon Kozun goal extended the visitor’s lead in the second before the teams traded goals in the third, with Victor Bartley getting Kunlun’s only marker of the game.

Defeat for Red Star was good news for Metallurg: the Chinese team can no longer catch Magnitka, confirming the two-time Gagarin Cup winner’s place in this year’s playoffs. And it was a notable day for Loko head coach Dmitry Kvartalnov as he took charge of a record-breaking 594th game in the KHL.

Sibir avenges its drubbing in Moscow

Sibir Novosibirsk 4 Spartak Moscow 3 OT (1-0, 1-2, 1-1, 1-0)

After a 0-7 loss in the capital last month, Sibir had a point to prove when Spartak came to town. It took overtime to separate the teams here, but in the end the Siberians got the verdict.

Photo: 17.01.19. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Sibir (Novosibirsk Region) - Spartak (Moscow)

Danil Romantsev’s goal midway through the first period gave Sibir the lead but the action really ignited late in the second frame. The teams traded three goals in less than three minutes to go to the second intermission tied at 2-2.

There was controversy early in the third when Sibir thought it had scored but a video review determined that Yaroslav Dyblenko had somehow managed to deny Vladislav Naumov on the goalline. The scores stayed level until Sibir got a power play goal in the 55th minute, Yegor Milovzorov finding the target. A penalty on the host, though, presented Spartak with a chance to respond and Kaspars Daugavins took us to overtime. Sibir eventually got the winner with 27 seconds left on the clock. Alexander Sharov claimed the decisive goal.

Barys secures a playoff place

Barys Astana 1 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 0 OT (0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 1-0)

Barys became the fifth team to secure a playoff spot in the East – but it did it the hard way in a tight battle against Salavat Yulaev.

The visitor was playing its eighth game in 14 days but showed few signs of fatigue as it battled the host to a standstill. In the first period, the most notable incident was a fight between Pyotr Khokhryakov and Matt Frattin before Barys raised the tempo – but not the scoring – later in the game. Juha Metsola stood firm in the Ufa net to force the game into overtime.

Finally, Patrice Cormier made the breakthrough. He combined neatly with Jesse Blacker before shooting home the only goal of the evening. Barys also becomes the first non-Russian team to confirm its post-season place.

Traktor moves six points clear

Traktor Chelyabinsk 3 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 2 (0-1, 2-1, 1-0)

Marsel Sholokhov scored twice to give Traktor a third consecutive victory and boost the Ural team’s playoff prospects.

The win came from a roller-coaster encounter, with Torpedo twice leading before the home team recovered to claim the points. Andrew Calof got the only goal of the first period to put Traktor in front, but Jonas Enlund tied the scores early in the second. Danil Veryayev restored Torpedo’s lead only for Sholokhov’s first of the game to make it 2-2.

Sholokhov struck again at the start of the third period to give Traktor the lead for the first time in the game. The 21-year-old scored two in a game for the first time in his KHL career. Legendary Latvian defenseman Sandis Ozolins was part of Torpedo’s coaching staff for the first time after taking on a new role as defense coach.

Late drama lifts Vityaz to victory

Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 1 Vityaz Moscow Region 2 (0-0, 1-0, 0-2)

A last-minute goal saw Vityaz get its fifth win in six games to move six points clear of ninth-placed Dinamo Riga.

All three goals came with a man in the sin bin, but it took more than half an hour for the deadlock to be broken. Neftekhimik finally forged ahead in the 32nd minute thanks to Rafael Bikmullin. The goalscorer soon found himself in trouble, though, ejected from the game three minutes later after a clash involving Nikita Vyglazov. Not to be outdone, Vityaz also lost a player two minutes later when Borna Rendulic was sent to the locker room for slashing.

Vityaz stepped up the pace in the third period but struggled to find a way past Ilya Ezhov in the home net. A penalty on Alexander Nikulin in the 55th minute seemed to be a dagger blow to the visitor’s hopes, but a shorthanded goal from Alexei Makeyev changed the complexion of the game. Four seconds later the host took a penalty of its own and, in the last minute, Michal Repik scored a power play goal to win it.

Sochi snaps losing run at just the right time

Avangard Omsk 2 HC Sochi 4 (0-1, 1-1, 1-2)

Taylor Beck kept up his scoring form for Avangard but Sochi left with the points to snap a three-game losing streak and ease some nerves as the playoff race enters the closing stages.

Photo: 17.01.19. KHL Championship 2018-2019. Avangard (Omsk) - HC Sochi (Sochi)

Beck got his sixth goal in five games in the 38th minute and later added an assist that takes him to nine points in eight games since joining Avangard from Red Star. By then, though, his team was already behind in a game it was destined to lose.

Martin Bakos and Stanislav Bocharov put Sochi 2-0 up before Beck’s goal, then two goals in 17 seconds saw Sean Collins and Artyom Tomilin take the game away from Avangard in the third period. Evgeny Medvedev pulled one back but it was little more than consolation for the host.

SKA defeats Dynamo once again

SKA St. Petersburg 3 Dynamo Moscow 1 (1-0, 1-1, 1-0)

Dynamo Moscow scored on SKA for the first time in four games this season but could not take anything from the game as the Army Men beat the Blue-and-Whites yet again.

The home team had the better of the opening frame but only had a Dinar Khafizullin goal to show for its efforts at the first intermission. A minute into the second period, Dynamo drew level. Ex-SKA forward Vadim Shipachyov sent Dmitry Kagarlitsky down the left and he brought the puck across to the right face-off circle before beating Igor Shestyorkin short side.

SKA restored its lead when Pavel Datsyuk made a Sergei Plotnikov feed with a one-timer in the 29th minute. The visitor then lost Yegor Zaitsev, ejected from the game for slashing. Dynamo survived that penalty, but Anton Belov added a third goal midway through the third period. Nikita Gusev had two assists and moves to 61 (14+47) points at the top of the scoring charts.

CSKA wins battle of the leaders

CSKA Moscow 3 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 0 (1-0, 0-0, 2-0)

The two conference leaders clashed in Moscow – and CSKA’s impregnable defense held firm once again to give the best of the West a fourth successive shut-out victory.

Photo: 17.01.19. KHL Championship 2018-2019. CSKA (Moscow) - Avtomobilist (Yekaterinburg)

It’s now more than 266 minutes since Stepan Sannikov scored against the Army Men in Lokomotiv’s 1-0 victory on Jan. 8; Traktor, Dinamo Minsk Metallurg and now Avtomobilist have all left Moscow without reward since then.

At the other end, goals have come regularly. Konstantin Okulov opened the scoring here in the second minute and CSKA never looked back. The home team was always in control of the game and it was a question of when, rather than if, it would put more goals past Jakub Kovar. The Czech performed bravely in a one-sided second period, keeping the score at 1-0, but succumbed in the third as Anton Slepyshev scored twice to seal the victory.

Magnitka edges past Riga

Dinamo Riga 0 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 2 (0-0, 0-0, 0-2)

Metallurg celebrated its playoff place with victory in Riga, recovering from a defeat at CSKA last time out.

Michal Bulir got the opening goal at the start of the third period. The Czech center may have known little about it as a wild point shot from Ivan Vereshchagin crashed into his legs and bounced behind Kristers Gudlevskis. At the other end, Artyom Zagidulin kept Dinamo at bay, finishing with 28 saves for his second shut-out of the season. Evgeny Timkin’s empty net goal put the issue beyond doubt.

Dinamo, placed ninth in the Western Conference, lost ground on Sochi and is now three points adrift of a place in the playoffs.

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