The race to win the Chernyshev Division remains as tight as ever after the leading contenders both won on Tuesday. Avangard picked up a 2-0 victory at Admiral before Barys responded with a 5-2 win at home to Sibir. The latter scoreline means Traktor remains two points clear in eighth place. Amur won 3-2 against Salavat Yulaev in the day’s other game.
Avangard kept up the pressure on Barys at the top of the Chernyshev Division, but Admiral’s defeat ends its chance of reaching this year’s playoffs.
Only a victory would keep the Sailors in with a theoretical chance of finishing in the top eight but the home team was denied by its former goalie Ivan Nalimov. He made 31 saves, including a major penalty kill after Denis Zernov was ejected from the game after a high hit on Stepan Zakharchuk midway through the first period.
Salavat Yulaev went down to defeat in Khabarovsk after resting several senior players. The likes of Linus Omark, Anton Burdasov and Phillip Larsen were left in Ufa as Nikolai Tsulygin named an experimental roster for this end-of-season trip to the Far East. That meant opportunities for youngsters, such as highly-rated forward Pavel Shen, who made his third KHL appearance of 2019.
The home team opened a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Pavel Dedunov in the first period and Vyacheslav Ushenin in the second. Ufa hit back early in the third, tying the game with two goals in two minutes through Vladislav Lukin and Georgy Busarov. However, the winner came from Amur when Alexander Gorshkov made it 3-2 with 10 minutes to play.
Barys maintained its two-point lead at the top of the Chernyshev Division while denying Sibir the chance to draw level with eighth-placed Traktor in the race for the playoffs.
Both teams had plenty to play for, with Barys looking to match its best-ever regular season placing and Sibir hoping to extend its fine run of recent form and snag an unlikely place in post-season. However, neither could make the breakthrough in the first period even though the host was on top for long periods.
Goals finally came early in the second, with Sibir grabbing the lead through Viktor Komarov a minute after the restart. It didn’t take long for Barys to respond: Yegor Petukhov tied it up two minutes later and, a further two minutes in, Dmitry Shevchenko made it 2-1 for the Kazakhs.
In the third period, Sibir twice presented Barys with a 5-on-3 advantage and on both occasions the host made it count. Roman Starchenko made it 3-1, Brandon Bochenski added a fourth 10 minutes later. Andre Petersson assisted on those two goals to make it three points in the game for the Swede. There was still time for the teams to exchange markers, with Shane Prince getting a consolation effort for Sibir before Alikhan Asetov completed the scoring in the last minute.