Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Barys booked its place in the Eastern Conference semi-finals as its battle against Metallurg returned to Kazakhstan. A convincing 5-2 victory sealed the series for Andrei Skabelka’s men with two games to spare. Meanwhile, the Avangard – Salavat Yulaev series continues to intrigue. A 6-3 win for Salavat on Monday sees Nikolai Tsulygin’s team head home to Ufa needing just one win to seal the series.

Doubles for Sagadeyev and Akolzin, Metallurg crashes out

Barys Nur-Sultan 5 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 2 (3-1, 1-1, 1-0)

Barys wins the series 4-1

Barys joins Ak Bars in the second phase of this year’s playoffs, advancing through the first round for the fourth time in the club’s history. For Metallurg, though, losing this series in five games represents the worst result in the KHL. Previously Magnitka had twice been defeated in the first round, but never before had it won fewer than two games in post season. Perhaps more worrying for the Ural team, this is the second year in a row that it has failed to get beyond the first stage of the playoffs.

Photo: 09.03.20. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Playoffs. Barys (Nur-Sultan) - Metallurg (Magnitogorsk)

Facing possible elimination in Kazakhstan, Metallurg scratched two of its imports. Brandon Kozun and Tomas Filippi were left out for this one with Roman Lyubimov and Maksim Matushkin coming into the team. Barys made no changes from the previous game.

The home team wasted little time in stamping its authority on the game, with Anton Sagadeyev opening the scoring after three minutes. Then the teams exchanged goals in the sixth minute. First, Sergei Mozyakin’s great pass set up Andrei Loktionov. His shot hit the piping, but Nikolai Kulemin was on hand to convert the rebound. However, it was a matter of seconds before Darren Dietz restored the home lead. A second goal for Sagadeyev extended the lead before the first intermission; Alexei Bereglazov lost possession in center ice, enabling Yegor Petukhov to set up the scoring chance.

When Pavel Akolzin made it 4-1 early in the second period, it seemed that Metallurg was done. But the visitor showed some fight and another superb assist from Mozyakin saw 21-year-old Artyom Minulin get his first goal in the KHL. However, it will also be the youngster’s last until next season. Barys was in no mood to allow a fightback and had the final say when Akolzin got his second of the game in the last minute to seal a convincing victory on the night and in the series.

Salavat Yulaev moves ahead

Avangard Omsk 3 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 6 (1-1, 1-2, 1-3)

Salavat Yulaev leads the series 3-2

Two goals from Pyotr Khokhryakov gave Salavat Yulaev the chance to wrap up this series on Wednesday when the action returns to Ufa. Avangard led twice in the early stages, but everything went wrong for Bob Hartley’s team after Philip Larsen’s equalizer midway through the second period.

Photo: 09.03.20. KHL Championship 2019-2020. Playoffs. Avangard (Omsk) - Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)

After Saturday’s 1-5 loss at home to Avangard, Salavat Yulaev head coach Nikolai Tsulygin called on his team to move the puck more quickly from defense to offense. Eventually, that message got through and brought a repeat of the scoreline from game three of this series – but it took some time.

Early on, Ufa threw caution to the winds and got punished while pushing for a power play goal. Cody Franson sat in the box, Pavel Dedunov saw his chance and breezed past Larsen to open the scoring. The response was swift: Franson was still on the sidelines when Khokhryakov tied the scores. Avangard had its chance on the power play and produced another of the menacing combinations that have served so well in this series. However, while Sergei Shumakov’s shot to the top corner had the beating of Juha Metsola, it also flew wide of the target and the game was tied at 1-1 going into the first intermission.

After having the edge in the first period, Avangard regained the lead early in the second when Ville Pokka’s low point shot skipped through traffic and beat the unsighted Metsola. Subsequently, though, Salavat Yulaev began to gain the initiative. A power play midway through the frame saw Larsen smash one home from long range to tie the game, and after that there was only one winner. Four minutes later, Alexander Kadeikin’s vision set up Vladimir Zharkov for the go-ahead goal.

Linus Omark has been a key figure for Ufa in this series, and his contribution continued. He had a helper on Larsen’s tying goal and also created the fourth of the game when he set up Sakari Manninen early in the third. The came a second short-handed goal for Salavat Yulaev when Vladislav Kartayev did it himself to beat Igor Bobkov. Khokhryakov applied the coup de grace, adding a sixth goal and Sergei Shumakov’s effort was scant consolation for the home team.

Game six of the series takes place in Ufa on Wednesday, with the home team poised to complete a victory in the series and avenge last year’s loss to Avangard in the Eastern Conference final. However, the Hawks will recall that the previous game in Bashkortostan ended in a comfortable 5-1 victory, giving them every confidence that they will return to Balashikha for a game seven showdown.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Related clubs

Avangard (Omsk) Avangard (Omsk)
Barys (Nur-Sultan) Barys (Nur-Sultan)
Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) Metallurg (Magnitogorsk)
Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)
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