Nikita Soshnikov scored twice as Salavat Yulaev defeated Vityaz for the second time this season. Last week, when the teams met in Podolsk, he also got two in a 2-1 victory and today he repeated that feat and that scoreline.
Admittedly, this time it needed overtime to separate these teams and send Vityaz to a third successive loss. The Western Conference’s surprise package of the season is currently on its worst run of the campaign; upcoming games will likely determine whether Mikhail Kravets’ team is destined to challenge at the top of the table or whether the season will turn into a familiar battle to clinch a playoff place.
Here, Salavat Yulaev’s fast start paid off with the only goal of the first period. The first Ufa power play of the night saw Linus Omark feed Soshnikov in the 13th minute, and he put the puck beyond Ilya Ezhov. Vityaz improved in the second frame, and Alexei Byvaltsev’s line came close to tying the game late in the session as the pressure on the home net net intensified. Finally, Svyatoslav Grebenshchikov tied the scores early in the third.
Nikolai Tsulygin responded by switching to three lines for Salavat Yulaev, ensuring maximum ice time for his leading players. That wasn’t enough to settle it in regulation, but Soshnikov got his second of the game in overtime to secure the win.
Neftekhimik won its fifth game in a row to move to seventh in the Eastern Conference and step ahead of Avtomobilist in the table. Once again, it was a low-scoring game, but Vyacheslav Butsayev seems to have found a winning formula for his team, rooted in solid defense and cautious hockey.
The early stages saw Severstal looking to force the pace but it wasn’t until late in the middle frame that a power play chance saw Ilya Khokhlov give the home team the lead. In the third, Neftekhimik picked up the pace and created early chances. Bogdan Yakimov hooked a puck off the Severstal goalline but it wasn’t long before Matt White tied the scores.
Severstal was limited to just four shots in the third period, but Neftekhimik could not force the win in regulation. But in the extras, White turned provider as Zack Mitchell potted the decisive goal.
Spartak came from behind to defeat Torpedo and record a third successive victory. The win lifts Oleg Znarok’s team to within a point of today’s opponent.
Torpedo made the better start though, going ahead through Kirill Urakov’s short-handed goal in the first period. But Spartak raised its game after the break and quickly tied the scores when Kaspars Daugavins struck in the 22nd minute.
The game was decided late in that middle frame when a power play goal from Alexander Khokhlachyov saw Spartak take a 2-1 lead into the second intermission. Torpedo was unable to exercise full control of the third session and, despite having chances to tie the game, lost out. A second short-handed goal of the night saw Robin Hanzl find the empty net for Spartak to seal the win.
This was something of a sensation. CSKA failed to score for the first time this season while Jokerit collected its first shut-out of the campaign and the league leader was shot down on home ice in impressive fashion.
This was an entirely deserved victory. The Finns came to Moscow with a game plan to contain the champion and implemented it perfectly. For two periods, the Army Men could not generate any kind of momentum on the ice. In the third, the host was able to create more offense, but by then Jokerit already had a lead to defend and could focus on holding what it had before adding an empty net goal.
The breakthrough came in the 28th minute when Saku Maenalanen potted his first goal in the KHL to give Jokerit the lead. The game remained tight, but early in the third Nikita Nesterov took a minor penalty and John Norman’s feed to the slot bounced around before Jesse Joensuu fired it home to double the visitor’s lead.
Subsequently, CSKA looked to pick up the tempo but ran into a Janis Kalnins-shaped wall. The Latvian goalie’s form has been good enough to keep Antti Niemi out of the team for much of the season and today he came up big to deny the home team a path back into the game. He finished with 29 saves, Jokerit wrapped up with Norman shooting into an empty net.
Mike Pelino got his first win as Lokomotiv head coach and the result moved his team up to eighth place in the Western Conference. Rushan Rafikov’s overtime goal settled the outcome after the host clawed back a 0-2 deficit.
The first period brought few scoring chances, but the second began with Barys jumping to a 2-0 lead. Alikhan Asetov continued his recent run of form to open the scoring, then Roman Starchenko doubled the advantage 45 seconds later. That saw Daniil Isayev come to the crease in place of Ilya Konovalov and the young goalie produced an assured display as Lokomotiv rallied.
First, Artur Kayumov scored a fine individual goal to reduce the deficit. Then Stepan Sannikov got the redirect on a Jakub Nakladal shot. A video review confirmed that Sannikov’s stick was not raised above the crossbar, and the goal stood.
The third period saw Lokomotiv on top, but unable to find a way past Eddie Pasquale for a third time. However, the first minute of overtime brought a winner when Rafikov planted an unstoppable wrist shot into the net.