After suffering a shoot-out loss at Lokomotiv, Metallurg bounced back with a shoot-out victory in Ufa. Salavat Yulaev suffered a third defeat against the Steelmen this season in a game where the home team missed leading goalscorer Nikita Soshnikov.
The first period was played at a fast pace. Magnitka looked to make the early running, Salavat responded with good chances for Linus Omark, Alexander Kadeikin and Vyacheslav Solodukhin. In two previous games, Ufa was unable to score on Magnitogorsk but the men in green finally put that right late in the opening frame when Kadeikin found a chink in Vasily Koshechkin’s armor.
In the second, both teams tried to improve their defensive play, trying to force the other into an error. Metallurg got the better of it and tied the scores through Nikolai Kulemin in the 37th minute. After that, it wasn’t long before the third period turned into a de facto overtime. There was a strong sense that allowing a goal would be fatal for either team and cautious hockey was the order of the day. Once overtime arrived at last, the tempo perked up a little but there was still no winning goal. Finally, Andrei Loktionov settled the outcome in a shoot-out; Metallurg moves up to seventh in the East.
Neftekhimik won an entertaining game against Traktor to tighten up the race for the Eastern Conference playoffs. The home team’s victory means that just one point separates sixth-placed Sibir and 10th-placed Kunlun Red Star in a congested battle for a top-eight finish.
This game was effectively decided by two quick goals midway through the second period. The teams were tied at 2-2 when Stepan Zakharchuk and Ildar Shiksatdarov scored in the 31st minute. That gave the home team a 4-2 lead against Traktor, which remains bottom of the conference table.
However, it wasn’t the end of the action. The visitor pulled a goal back midway through the third period through Alexander Avtsin and the final seconds saw a goal rush with three further markers in just 85 seconds. Zack Mitchell made it 5-3 on 58:24, but a Neftekhimik penalty saw Traktor play 6-on-4 and get a goal back thanks to Tomas Hyka. With 10 seconds left, there was one last chance for the visitor, but the play broke the other way and Denis Kazionov found the empty net to secure the win for the host.
Avtomobilist grabbed a sensational late equalizer in this game but still suffered a loss in the shoot-out.
There were just 14 seconds left on the clock when Stepan Khripunov beat Ilya Proskuryakov and sent the game into overtime. Khripunov’s goal cancelled out a first-period marker from Artyom Tomilin as Sochi sought a third win in four games.
The action was evenly matched throughout and a tie was a fair reflection of the game. However, in Proskuryakov, Sochi has a goalie who specializes in shoot-outs and the post-game tie-breaker was one-sided. The home team scored three of its four attempts, with Dmitry Lugin, Sergei Shmelyov and Andrei Altybarmakyan all finding the net. Avto, meanwhile, failed on each of its three shots as Peter Holland, Dan Sexton and Georgy Belousov all failed to beat Proskuryakov.