Amur withstood a CSKA fightback to spring a surprise on Igor Nikitin’s Gagarin Cup holders. The Army Men arrived on the back of a six-game winning streak, and forwards Kirill Kaprizov and Anton Slepyshev were both enjoying an 11-game productive run, but the visitor could not continue that form in Khabarovsk.
The home team took its chances early in the game. Although the play was fairly even, Amur opened a 3-0 lead inside 23 minutes. In the 14th minute, a wayward clearance from visiting goalie Lars Johansson saw Tomas Zohorna set up brother Hynek for the opening goal. Michal Jordan increased the home advantage and the last significant incident of the first period saw Alexander Gorshkov and Maxim Mamin trade blows. Early in the second, Tomas Zohorna struck again when his shot was deflected into the net by Bogdan Kiselevich.
CSKA’s power play is the best in the KHL this season and the first penalty on Amur led to a goal from Maxim Shalunov. Slepyshev also scored late in the second to take his productive streak to 12 games – matching the best in the league this season – but in between Alexander Kuznetsov had a fourth goal for Amur. Despite a third-period effort from Andrei Svetlakov, the visitor could not save the game.
Salavat Yulaev picked up a valuable win as it looks to seal its place in the playoffs. Admiral, currently ninth in the Eastern Conference, was looking to close the gap on the top eight against an Ufa team struggling for any kind of consistent form. But, after a tight game in the first two periods, the visitor took control in the third.
Dmitry Kugryshev was the key man. He finished the day with three goals, and he got the first of the night in the third minute. However, that lead did not last long. Markus Ljungh tied it up on 7:30 and the first period finished 1-1.
The second stanza began with a flurry of goals. Martin Bakos put the Sailors ahead after 17 seconds, but Salavat Yulaev responded with two goals in 28 seconds. Ilya Krikunov tied the game, then Kugryshev potted his second of the evening. There was a similar rush of action towards the end of the frame. Admiral had the puck in the net again, only for a goalie interference goal to whistle it off. Then, on the power play, Bakos tied the scores at 3-3 before Kugryshev completed his treble at the other end.
In the third, the visitor secured its win with two goals around the midway point. Krikunov got his second to make it 5-3, then assisted as Alexander Burmistrov completed the scoring.