CSKA edged a thrilling 5-4 verdict in its game against Ak Bars, a repeat of last year’s final and a great advert for the intense hockey we can expect in this year’s upcoming playoffs. In the race to reach those playoffs, Dinamo Riga’s overtime win against Spartak saw it close the gap on Sochi. The Black Sea men lost in the extras at Slovan and the gap between the rivals is down to two points. Dynamo defeated Metallurg for the first time since 2015.
The 13th minute of this game produced a remarkable goal flurry that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of the action. The teams traded three goals in 46 seconds as Red Star slipped 0-2 down before roaring back to tie the scores … but then there was no further scoring in regulation.
Amur made a fast start with Tomas Zohorna opening the scoring in the third minute. Then came the whirlwind: Vladislav Ushenin doubled the home advantage but, at intervals of 23 seconds, Martin St.Pierre and Brandon Yip hauled the scores back to 2-2. Yip, Red Star’s leading scorer, came close to winning it at the death when he got to the rebound from a Sam Lofquist effort. The on-ice officials initially awarded a goal but a review showed that the puck came back off the crossbar without crossing the line.
That meant overtime and, for the ninth time in 10 this season, Red Star lost after tying over 60 minutes. Pavel Dedunov got the winner 17 seconds from the end of the extras. Red Star remains 10th in the Eastern Conference, six points behind Traktor in the playoff zone. Amur recorded its third win in a row.
Sami Lepisto’s goal 16 seconds into overtime handed Jokerit victory after a lively battle in Novosibirsk. The Finns made it three straight victories while Sibir’s playoff hopes took a knock following a second loss in four games.
Alex Grant gave the visitor an early lead … and that lead remained intact almost until the second intermission. Then Maxim Kazakov tied the scores 80 seconds before the hooter and the third stanza began with a rush of goals. Geoff Platt put Jokerit back in front before the teams traded goals in the space of a minute. Sibir levelled through Alexander Loginov and Jesse Joensuu put Jokerit ahead for a third time. The Finnish forward then took a penalty, though, and Gilbert Brule converted the power play to take us to overtime.
The extras didn’t last long. Brian O’Neill played the puck out of defense towards Lepisto in center ice. The Finn rolled away from the attentions of a Sibir defenseman and evaded Danny Taylor’s desperate attempt at a poke check before sliding the puck into an empty net.
The home team made a great start, with Andre Petersson opening the scoring after just 78 seconds. But things went astray for the host midway through the first period. First, Yakupov tied the scores. A minute later, Patrice Cormier’s evening came to an end when he was ejected from the game for needlessly chopping down Andrei Kuzmenko with the puck some distance away. During the PK, Barys also lost Anton Sagadeyev for playing with a broken stick and Datsyuk converted the 5-on-3 advantage.
Datsyuk turned provider on another power play early in the second period as Yakupov potted his second of the game. Darren Dietz pulled one back for the host, again on the PP, but SKA saw out the last half hour with few alarms.
Two goals from Miks Indrasis led the way for Dynamo as the Blue-and-Whites beat Metallurg for the first time since 2015. The Latvian struck twice in the third period, grabbing the game winner after a fine rush from Dmitry Kagarlitsky and applying the coup-de-grace into an empty net after Magnitka battled back to 2-3.
The game was also notable for Aslan Raisov’s first KHL goal. The promising forward had been getting closer with each passing game and today he made no mistake when he slotted home the rebound after his own shot was blocked. That added to Kagarlitsky’s opening goal in the first period.
Metallurg mounted a recovery after going 0-3 behind. Dennis Rasmussen’s power play goal in the 51st minute kept the game alive and Ivan Vereshchagin scored with two to play to set home nerves jangling. But Indrasis secured the win and Dynamo heads off to Finland in a buoyant mood.
This was a repeat of last season’s Gagarin Cup final and – so some suggested in the build-up – a potential warm-up for the 2019 edition. Plenty of teams from East and West would contest that assumption but today’s game proved worthy of its billing as a top clash.
The visitor struck first through Rob Klinkhammer in the sixth minute but had to withstand some first-period pressure as CSKA looked to get back into the game. Ak Bars killed two penalties, but fluffed its lines on the power play when Klinkhammer’s late hit brought the adventure to a premature end.
The Army Men drew level in the second period. Another power play came CSKA’s way and this time Mikhail Grigorenko finished it off for 1-1. Nothing daunted, Ak Bars came again and Albert Yarullin restored the lead – but not for long before Grigorenko set up Kirill Kaprizov for the second equalizer of the night.
Klinkhammer got his second at the start of the final session, grabbing a short-handed goal to leave CSKA wondering if this was destined to go awry. But Andrei Svetlakov tied the scores – Kaprizov among the helpers – and Alexander Romanov put the home team in front for the first time in the 52nd minute. The young defenseman, a key part of Russia’s World Junior success earlier this month, got his first KHL goal at just the right time.
The game wasn’t done. Konstantin Okulov added a fifth for CSKA but Vladimir Tkachyov pulled on back in the last minute to set up a final fusillade on the home net. Lars Johansson withstood the pressure and CSKA claimed an exhilarating win.
Sergei Konkov got the shoot-out winner for Admiral to mathematically end Dinamo’s hopes of reaching the playoffs.
The Belarusians needed victory to maintain even a theoretical chance of a top-eight finish. But, after battling back from 0-2 to force the extras, the host was beaten in a shoot-out.
Admiral, fighting to avoid finishing dead last in the Eastern Conference, jumped to a 2-0 lead on goals from Nikita Feoktistov and Stepan Zakharchuk. However, Alexander Kogalev reduced the arrears midway through the game and a power play goal from Evgeny Kovyrshin late on gave Dinamo one point.
Linus Videll’s goals have propelled Riga right into the thick of the race for the playoffs – and tonight’s overtime winner could have a huge say in whether the Latvians make it over the line.
The Swedish forward has overcome several injury niggles to record his most productive KHL campaign and he got the winner here 27 seconds into the extras. Mathew Maione’s solo rush ended at the pads of Julius Hudacek, but Videll was following up to stuff home the rebound and clinch the win.
Earlier, Martins Dzierkals put Riga ahead seconds before the first intermission. Spartak then dominated the middle session and drew level on a goal from Anton Zlobin midway through the game. Dinamo had the better of the third period but could not force a winner until Videll settled the issue.
Slovan snapped a 10-game losing streak and dealt a blow to Sochi’s playoff hopes when Matus Sukel’s second of the game secured an overtime win. There were just 36 seconds left in the extras when Sukel struck; earlier he had cancelled out the visitor’s opening goal.
Sochi, knowing that victory would make such a difference to its playoff prospects, made a bright start and went ahead after 10 minutes through Sean Collins. However, a power play goal from Sukel allowed Slovan back into the game and the home side went ahead late in the middle frame. David Buc, a young Slovak forward being nurtured ahead of this year’s World Championship, made it 2-1 in a period marked by more PIMs than shots on goal.
Lukas Klok ensured the officials were kept busy at the start of the third when he took a 2+10+game misconduct after a hooking call early on. Slovan killed that penalty, though, and it wasn’t until the 50th minute that Sochi tied it up through Robert Rosen. However, the Swede's effort was not enough: Sochi is now just two points ahead of Riga in the race for eighth.