Jokerit’s first home game of the season could hardly have gone better for the Finns. Lauri Marjamaki’s team romped to a convincing victory over Neftekhimik, with new signing Jordan Schroeder scoring twice. That feat was matched by Mikko Lehtonen, last season’s scoring star from the blue line, who is back at the club on loan from Toronto until the start of the NHL season.
For Neftekhimik, though, this was a tough examination. The Tatar team was buoyed by a win over Vityaz three days ago — a success secured despite many missing players — but had no answers in Helsinki. Jokerit got in front on its first power play — Schroeder opening the scoring in the seventh minute — and never looked back.
Lehtonen got the second, midway through the opening frame, when he found space in front of the net to convert Saku Maenalanen’s feed from round the back. The defenseman also played a big role in killing off the game in the second period, with Jokerit scoring three goals in four minutes. First, Lehtonen combined with Eeli Tolvanen to create a power play tally for Niklas Jensen. Soon after, Schroeder got his second of the game, then Lehtonen scored the prettiest goal of the evening to make it 5-0.
There was more to come in the third, with Iiro Pakarinen getting a goal to add to his pair of assists and complete a comprehensive home victory.
It’s early days this season, but already these two teams look to be on divergent paths. For Magnitka, this was a third victory in three games, keeping Ilya Vorobyov’s team among the early pacesetters in the East. At the other end of the table, Amur suffered a fourth successive loss and is still seeking its first point of the campaign — an unhappy distinction shared with Sibir and Kunlun Red Star in the Eastern Conference.
At the start of the game, there was a moment of hope for the Tigers. Gleb Koryagin gave the visitor an early lead and held that advantage to the first intermission. However, that was largely down to Marek Langhamer’s goaltending heroics; Magnitka dominated the game and it felt like just a matter of time until the home team got on the scoresheet.
The goals finally came in the middle session. Arkhip Nekolenko tipped home a Yegor Yakovlev shot to tie the scores and, soon after the teams were back to full strength, Maxim Karpov potted a short-handed effort to put Metallurg ahead. In the third, Amur struggled to generate the offense it needed to get back into the game, and the result was underlined by Nikolai Prokhorkin’s empty-net goal.
Jori Lehtera was Spartak’s star as the Red-and-Whites ended Salavat Yulaev’s winning start to the season.
Salavat Yulaev began the season with three successive wins on the road — but found Spartak a challenge too far on its first journey of the campaign. The visitor managed to tie this game three times, but eventually ran out goals and slipped to a first loss of the season.
Much has been said about Ufa’s Finnish connection, but it was a Moscow-based Finn who opened the scoring here. Lehtera stole the puck, picked his moment, and shot a wrister past Vladislav Sukhachyov. Lehtera’s compatriot, Teemu Hartikainen, tied the scores when he finished a well-worked move in the 15th minute, and the opening frame ending in a flurry of scoring as Artyom Fyodorov and Grigory Panin traded late tallies.
Spartak began the first period on the power play and Emil Djuse took advantage to score his first KHL goal, assisted by Lehtera. And penalty trouble continued to dog Salavat Yulaev, although the visitor produced a short-handed goal from Alexander Kadeikin to tie things up midway through the game.
The next Spartak PP, though, got it right. Djuse combined with Lehtera to start the move, Martin Bakos finished it off after the Finn’s fantastic feed. And it was Lehtera again to make it 5-3 early in the third, producing a backhand finish after Lukas Radil sent him into Ufa territory once again.
Dmitrij Jaskin scored his first goal of the season, but Dynamo is still looking for its first win after Lokomotiv came from behind in Moscow. The Czech opened the scoring in the seventh minute. The move started in home territory as Artur Kayumov dinged one off the crossbar, but Dynamo collected the puck and advanced. Dmitry Kagarlitsky found Jaskin on the right and his shot got through Ilya Konovalov’s pads to open the scoring. Lokomotiv tied the scores when Yegor Averin was first react to the rebound from a Nikolai Kovalenko shot, and the game was level at the first intermission.
In the second period, Dynamo got its first power play goal when Daniil Tarasov fired home off a feed from Andrei Sergeyev and it looked like Vladimir Krikunov’s team might be heading to a first win of the season.
Loko, though, had other ideas. The third frame saw the visitor hit back to continue its 100% start to the campaign. Dynamo killed a 3-on-5 situation but shortly after getting back to full strength, the home team allowed a tying goal from Rushan Rafikov midway through the third. And the winner followed shortly after, when Denis Alexeyev scored from close range following Pavel Kudryavtsev’s shot.
Ak Bars stayed on top in the East after edging Dinamo in an absorbing encounter in Minsk. A third period fightback turned this game around for the visitor, with Stanislav Galiyev’s goal after 50 minutes ultimately making the difference.
The completed a big change after Dinamo led 3-2 at the second intermission. Brandon Kozun scored two of those goals, either side a Ryan Spooner effort, as Dinamo scented a big scalp in front of its home fans.
But Ak Bars lack for neither firepower nor experience. Danis Zaripov, that wiliest of campaigners, tied it up at the start of the third and Nigel Dawes produced the go-ahead goal in the 49th minute. That was the first time the visitor led in the game and it took barely a minute for Galiyev to extend the advantage. Maxim Sushko quickly pulled one back for the home team, but there was no way to save the game.