Series tied at 1-1
There was high drama in Balashikha as Salavat Yulaev hauled itself level in this series in the most spectacular fashion. Avangard looked poised to take a 2-0 lead in the series until one last charge saw the visitor save itself with a tying goal six seconds from the hooter. Then, in overtime, Dmitry Kugryshev scored a spectacular winner. In the space of less than eight minutes of game time, Tuesday’s encounter – and perhaps the entire series – changed direction dramatically.
The visitor dominated the first period, with Igor Bobkov called on for several big saves. Perhaps the pick of the bunch came when Alexander Burmistrov sent Ilya Krikunov beyond the defense for a rendezvous with the goalie, only to be denied the best chance of a goal in the opening frame.
Instead, the game was deadlocked until the midway stage, when the visitor got in front. Linus Omark won his battle on the boards, went behind the net and popped up a feed for Grigory Panin to open the scoring. But the lead was shortlived, with Avangard tying it up just 26 seconds later. Cody Franson saw his shot hit the post but the rebound went straight to Semyon Koshelev to make it 1-1.
Midway through the third period, Avangard got in front. Another assist from Franson saw Pavel Dedunov produce a masterful finish on the backhand from the tightest of angles. He squeezed the puck past Juha Metsola in a manner worthy of winning any game – but it was not to be on this occasion.
Salavat Yulaev took the gamble: Metsola left his net with almost two minutes on the clock as Nikolai Tsulygin’s team looked to launch a final, decisive assault on Bobkov’s net. And, with six seconds left to play, the charge yielded a game-saving goal. Krikunov fired a shot through traffic, Igor Bobkov got behind it but could not freeze the puck and Sakari Manninen was on hand to jump into the play and slot home a tying goal.
Overtime, the first in this year’s playoffs, saw Ufa have the better of things. A penalty on Alexei Emelin put Avangard under pressure and even after he returned to the ice the visitor continued to dictate the play. Then came Kugryshev. His rush down the left saw his initial attempt to get the puck to the net thwarted by a home defenseman. But when the forward regained possession, he abandoned his original plan of setting up a team-mate and whipped in a shot from an even tighter angle than Dedunov’s earlier effort. And this time, it was enough to win the game and send us to Ufa with the series all square.
Series tied at 1-1
Metallurg bounced back immediately following its heavy loss in game one, squaring the series with an impressive shut-out win over Barys. After Sunday’s disappointing start, Ilya Vorobyov reorganized his team’s offense. Crucially, he found new partners for Sergei Mozyakin after Magnitka’s record-breaking forward failed to trouble Eddie Pasquale with a single shot in game one. The captain took to the ice alongside Nikolai Kulemin and Andrei Loktionov; Tomas Filippi and Andrej Nestrasil moved to the second and third lines respectively.
That reshuffle paid dividends – eventually. The first period was a tight affair. Mozyakin was still struggling to make an impact and the closest we came to a goal was a Linus Videll shot during a passage of four-on-four play. He beat Vasily Koshechkin, but not Nikita Pivtsakin: the defenseman got back to clear the puck away from danger. Towards the end of the frame, Magnitka also had to kill a 3-on-5 situation and the visitor did not get back to full strength until the 22nd minute.
And, in 5-on-5 play, the Steelmen got the breakthrough. Nestrasil opened the scoring with a thunderbolt that ended Pasquale’s unbeaten sequence after 137 minutes, 41 seconds. Barys claimed offside but the review upheld the on-ice decision and the home team faced a delaying the game penalty. That penalty was seen off, but soon afterwards Mozyakin repeated Nestrasil’s feat to double the lead. Youngster Artyom Minulin picked up his second assist of the game on that play – and the second point of his fledgling KHL career.
Then came a 5-on-3 power play for Magnitka and a sudden reunion of that Filippi-Mozyakin-Nestrasil line. Now Mozyakin turned provider, spraying out a fine pass from the corner for Nestrasil to shoot home his second of the game.
Barys switched goalies in the second intermission and Henrik Karlsson denied Mozyakin a second goal when he foiled a solo rush. At the other end, Koshechkin secured his 81st KHL shut-out tanks to a magnificent stick save to deny Yegor Petukhov from point-blank range. The series moves on to Magnitogorsk with everything to play for.