Nizhny Novgorod (17:00)
Vitaly Kravtsov is back in Chelyabinsk – and after signing a loan contract with his hometown team, the 19-year-old’s return brought a convincing 4-1 victory for a club in need of a lift after dropping out of the Eastern Conference playoff places.
The teenager, now a New York Rangers’ prospect, was the headline attraction ahead of today’s game. However, the player who had the biggest impact was Enver Lisin. The forward marked his 500th game in the KHL with two goals in the second period to lead Traktor to success. The home team took the lead thanks to a first-period goal when Fyodor Malykhin cashed in on an error from visiting goalie Jhonas Enroth. Then Lisin’s double, in his second game of a try-out contract, put Chelyabinsk in a comfortable position at the second intermission.
Shane Prince scored on the power play midway through the third to give Dinamo hope of snapping its eight-game losing streak but Alexander Avtsin – like Lisin, on a try-out – added a fourth to seal the deal. The win lifts Traktor off the foot of the Eastern Conference and completes Avtomobilist’s fall from first to last in the space of just one month.
Neftekhimik extended its winning streak to seven games with another battling performance. After clawing back a 0-3 deficit against Admiral last time out, Neftekhimik recovered from 0-2 and 1-3 to secure a shoot-out success against Amur.
The visitor enjoyed a profitable first period, taking the lead through Alexander Gorshkov in the first minute and doubling the lead through Igor Rudenkov midway through the session. The home team had more time on offense, but Amur’s play was clinical.
In the middle frame the teams traded goals. Jonas Enlund got his first since joining Neftekhimik recently, but Tomas Zohorna restored Amur’s two-goal cushion moments before the second break. And it wasn’t until the last eight minutes that Neftekhimik began its fightback. After dominating the play in the third period, the home team got a second through Ildar Shiksatdarov before Jacob Berglund tied it up 73 seconds before the hooter.
Overtime saw Amur enjoy a power play but neither team could find a winning goal. The shoot-out was settled by Shiksatdarov.
Timur Bilyalov had his fourth shut-out of the season as Ak Bars made it three wins in a row with a home success against Admiral. And the home goalie even added an assist as Vyacheslav Osnovin scored into an empty net to secure the win and squash a brave rearguard action from the visitor.
The first period brought no goals, even if Ak Bars enjoyed a small advantage in terms of the passage of play. It wasn’t until midway through the game that the deadlock was broken. Ak Bars picked up the pace in the second period, outshooting Admiral 14-7 and spending almost seven minutes on the attack during the session. That pressure paid off in the 33rd minute when Patrice Cormier opened the scoring.
However, the home team was unable to add a second goal and kill off the game. The final frame saw Admiral take the play to Ak Bars, with Bilyalov by now the busier of the two goalies. He made 10 stops in the third period, taking his tally to 26 in the game. Osnovin’s late tally sealed the win as his team opened a seven-point lead at the top of the Conference.
When these teams met in late September, a 4-2 win for Vityaz alerted everyone to the enhanced competitive of one of the league’s outsiders. Since then, the teams have swapped players and today saw Artyom Shvets-Rogovoi lining up against Vityaz for the first time, with Alexei Byvaltsev facing his former SKA team-mates.
The home team was the first to show. Just 90 seconds into the game, Svyatoslav Grebenshchikov showed off his stick-handling skills as he danced through the visiting defense to open the scoring. The goal was especially memorable for the pacey forward; he started out his career at SKA but struggled to get an opportunity in Petersburg. Anton Burdasov tied the game late in the opening session.
The events of the 26th minute possibly proved pivotal in this game. SKA got on the power play, only to concede a short-handed goal to Miro Aaltonen. Seconds later the Finn won himself a penalty shot but failed to convert. Had Aaltonen succeeded, a two-goal lead might have been enough for his team; instead the miss was a precursor of events at the end of the game.
On an evening of well-taken goals, Evgeny Ketov tied the scores with another nice effort in the third period. Both teams had chances in overtime but the outcome was decided in a shoot-out. Visiting goalie Magnus Hellberg won each of his duels and Vladimir Tkachyov settled the outcome with the only successful attempt.