Teemu Hartikainen fired a hat-trick in the space of barely six minutes to set Salavat Yulaev on the road to victory over the defending champion. The Finn potted his treble in the first period, setting a new record for the club’s fastest ever hat-trick. The previous best, by another Finn, Antti Pihlstrom, took more than 12 minutes.
Hartikainen opened the scoring midway through the first period, extending his productive run to four games in the KHL. It didn’t take long for Sergei Tolchinsky to tie the scores, but Hartikainen restored the home lead just 20 seconds later. His third came on 16:50 to give his team a handy lead at the first intermission.
After the break, CSKA raised its game and kept the host out of the danger zone for most of the action. However, only an Anton Slepyshev power play goal reduced the deficit as Ufa absorbed the pressure.
In the third, the Army Men maintained their tempo but fell foul of Salavat’s counter attacks. A pass that covered the whole length of the ice saw Linus Omark put the puck in the net only to be whistled off for offside. But the next raid saw the Swede on the scoresheet with a legitimate effort to seal the home win. And the pass that set Omark free? Another significant contribution from Hartikainen.
These two are contesting the lead in the Chernyshev Division, and both are shooting for the top in the most literal sense. Few teams in the KHL love a shot at goal as much as Monday’s opponents, so it was little surprise to see the scoreboard ticking over consistently throughout this game.
Initially, though, the action was all at one end of the ice. Barys came out at a high tempo and pushed Avangard back from the first moments. Dmitry Shevchenko went close, an awkward bounce denied Nikita Mikhailis but the third attack saw Yegor Petukhov put the visitor in front.
Avangard had to wait until the fourth minute before it could create meaningful offense of its own. But from that point on the game was evenly contested and it wasn’t long before the scoreline matched. Barys was pressed into its zone for more than a minute before Rob Klinkhammer tied the scores.
The teams traded two more goals in the second period. A well-worked breakout involving Curtis Valk, Jesse Blacker and goalscorer Mikhailis was cancelled out when Brandon McMillan converted a Sergei Shumakov pass to make it 2-2. Shumakov extended his productive streak to four games, McMillan potted his second goal for his new club.
The third period was also even. But while Avangard attacked more frequently, Barys posed more of a threat when it got forward. And, with two minutes to play, the visitor got its reward when Mikhailis struck from a tight angle to give his team the lead for the third – and final – time. Barys moves within three points of Avangard at the top of the division.
Dinamo’s recent revival – back-to-back wins, back-to-back shut-outs – came to a juddering halt against a Jokerit team that has developed a liking for the Latvians this season. The two meetings in Helsinki saw the Finns score 12 goals; tonight, they added another seven, with hat-tricks for Peter Regin and Niklas Jensen.
Regin is clearly enjoying 2020 so far. He began with two goals and an assist in a 6-0 win at home to SKA, and today he added three more goals. The Jokerit captain opened the scoring and added goals three and six of the night. His fellow Dane, Jensen, was also in fine form, getting the second, fourth and fifth. Sami Lepisto added a seventh on the power play in the 35th minute.
It was hard on young Dinamo goalie Janis Voris. After a 1-0 victory over Barys last time out, he was hailed as a hero and nominated as the KHL’s rookie of the (admittedly truncated) week. Today, nothing went right. He allowed seven goals from 26 shots before he was replaced by Reinis Liepins at the start of the third period. The 18-year-old made his KHL debut in an impossible situation but let nobody down, stopping all 10 of the shots that he faced.