Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Dynamo Moscow’s 5-1 win over Torpedo secured the Muscovites a place in this season’s playoffs, with Dmitrij Jaskin and Teemu Pulkkinen scoring two apiece. Pulkkinen’s former club, Dinamo Minsk, became the first club to lose even a theoretical chance of reaching the top eight when it lost 0-5 at a SKA team fired by its impressive crop of young talent. Salavat Yulaev’s indifferent form continues: a 2-4 reverse in Khabarovsk represents Amur’s first victory of 2020. Avangard kept pace with Ak Bars at the top of the Eastern Conference by beating Neftetkhimik 3-2 and Sibir edged a 1-0 verdict at Dinamo Riga.

Amur snaps losing streak, Ufa still has cause for concern

Amur Khabarovsk 4 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 2 (2-0, 0-1, 2-1)

Salavat Yulaev missed the chance to tighten its grip on a playoff spot when it went down to a heavy defeat in Khabarovsk. The Tigers, meanwhile, claimed their first victory in 2020, keeping their outside chance of a playoff place alive.

The home team pressed from the start and it took just 80 seconds for Kirill Rasskazov to open the scoring. There was more to come midway through the first period when Vladislav Ushenin doubled the lead, raising hopes that an end to Amur’s nine-game losing streak was in sight at last.

However, Salavat Yulaev improved in the second period. The visitor led the shot count 17-3 and pulled one goal back through Dmitry Kugryshev midway through the game.

That change of momentum did not last. The third period saw Amur back on top. The host failed to convert a 5-on-3 power play but extended its lead midway through the stanza thanks to quick goals from Alexander Gorshkov and Igor Rudenkov. A late consolation goal from Linus Omark can’t dispel the concerns in Ufa, where Salavat Yulaev has lost 14 of its last 21 games. Nor could it prevent Amur from moving off the foot of the Eastern Conference.

Dynamo joins the playoff party

Dynamo Moscow 5 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 1 (2-0, 1-0, 2-1)

Dynamo confirmed its place in the playoffs with a convincing victory at home to Torpedo. Dmitrij Jaskin and Teemu Pulkkinen led the way with two goals apiece while Vadim Shipachyov had two assists.

Photo: 28.01.20. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Dynamo (Moscow) - Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod)

The home team took control with two quick goals in the 16th minute. Shipachyov’s shot rebounded for Jaskin to open the scoring and, 14 seconds later, Daniil Tarasov got the puck to the danger zone where Pulkkinen doubled the lead. Dynamo’s first line clicked again early in the second, with Jaskin getting his second of the night and chasing Anders Lindbak from the net. His replacement, Andrei Tikhomirov, kept the host at bay until the second intermission, but as soon as the third period began, he was beaten by Michal Cajkovsky.

Torpedo got on the scoresheet midway through the final frame through Jordan Schroeder and began to dream of a fightback. On the power play, head coach David Nemirovsky gambled on withdrawing his goalie and playing 6-on-4, but to little avail. Dynamo killed the penalty and, before Torpedo could get a goalie back to the crease, Pulkkinen scored into the empty net to make it 5-1 with six minutes left to play.

SKA’s youngsters blow away Dinamo

SKA St. Petersburg 5 Dinamo Minsk 0 (4-0, 0-0, 1-0)

Valery Bragin, long-serving head coach of Russia’s U20s, made his debut on the coaching staff at SKA – and his new team’s young legion responded with a lively performance. Ivan Morozov had two goals and one assist, Kirill Marchenko had a goal and a helper, and there were points from Vasily Podkolzin and Danila Galenyuk as the Army Men easily defeated Dinamo Minsk.

The home team got a flying start. Joe Morrow took a penalty in the first minute, Maxim Karpov converted the power play and SKA was up after 44 seconds. Morozov got his first of the night barely a minute later and Dinamo was reeling. The visitor’s evening did not improve: Jarno Koskiranta made it 3-0 and Marchenko scored number four with less than 12 minutes played.

Subsequently, things calmed down a little. The second period brought no goals but saw a fight between Podkolzin and Shane Prince. The teenager duly dumped his more experienced opponent to the ice.

With a fight and an assist on his card, Podkolzin was in line for a Gordie Howe hat-trick when he completed his five-minute penalty, but it was not to be. SKA got another goal, scored by Morozov, to seal the win. Dinamo’s defeat ends its theoretical chance of making the playoffs.

Eight straight wins for Avangard

Avangard Omsk 3 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 2 (1-1, 2-0, 0-1)

Avangard remains firmly in contention to finish top of the Eastern Conference after this victory moved it level on points with Ak Bars. For Neftekhimik, meanwhile, this was a missed opportunity to capitalize on Salavat Yulaev’s earlier loss and close the gap on the top eight.

Photo: 28.01.20. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Avangard (Omsk) - Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk)

The visitor got an early lead here, with Ryan Murphy converting the first power play of the evening. However, that advantage was short lived. Neftekhimik killed a penalty but Semyon Koshelev tied the scores just as Zack Mitchell was emerging from the box.

The second period saw Avangard take a decisive grip on the game. Ville Pokka’s long-range shot was redirected into the net by Denis Zernov, and a minute later Sven Andrighetto made it 3-1. The Swiss forward fired past Konstantin Barulin from the blue line.

Neftekhimik got a goal back midway through the third when another power play saw Marat Khairullin reduce the deficit. But Avangard held on for the win despite 20 shots on its net.

Sateri’s shut-out lifts Sibir

Dinamo Riga 0 Sibir Novosibirsk 1 (0-0, 0-0, 0-1)

Sibir edged a tight game in Riga to open up a four-point gap to Salavat Yulaev in sixth, thanks largely to Harri Sateri’s second shut-out of the season. In a goaltending duel, he had the edge over Alexander Salak as his team claimed a narrow victory.

Dinamo handed debuts to two more players; in total Girts Ankipans has used 46 in the current season. Rejnis Lejnieks and Janis Svanenbergs were the latest to feature, but neither of the young forwards could unlock Sibir, even though the home team had much the better of the first period.

In the middle frame, Sibir shut down the game effectively, allowing Dinamo just three shots at Sateri. The fans were enlivened not by a goal, but by a fight early in the third as Colton Gillies and Danil Romantsev dropped the gloves for a well-matched battle. Their penalties had barely concluded when the only goal of the game arrived, Alexander Sharov beating Salak at last and ending the Czech’s 111-minute shut-out streak. That proved decisive, and the loss pushes Riga to the brink of losing even a mathematical possibility of making the playoffs.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk) Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk)
Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)
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