Vityaz began its season by thrashing Ak Bars 4-0 in Kazan. Today, the Moscow Region team was at it again, handing out another hefty defeat to one of the beasts of the east. And this time, the visitor did it without the experienced Alexander Semin, currently on the injured list.
It didn’t take long for another Vityaz veteran to make his mark: Evgeny Artyukhin opened the scoring in the second minute, potting his first goal in almost a year since scoring on Dinamo Riga last October. Vityaz then converted its first power play of the game, with Kaspars Daugavins extending his productive streak to four games with an assist on Justin Danforth’s first of the night.
Magnitka’s problems increased when Maxim Karpov was ejected from the game late in the first after his stick found Yury Pautov’s face. But the second period saw the home team get a goal back when Juho Lammikko struck in the 25th minute. That ushered in a spell of extended pressure from Metallurg, with Mikhail Kravets forced to call a time-out and give his team some breathing space.
However, it did not bring an equalizer for the home team and early in the third Danforth scored the game-breaker, collecting the puck after a face-off in center ice and bearing down on Juho Olkinuora in the Metallurg net. The summer signing finished the play in style and Vityaz had a lead that it would not relinquish. Pautov wrapped up the scoring in the 55th minute.
Salavat Yulaev shrugged off a growing injury crisis to beat Traktor, with fit-again Nikita Soshnikov celebrating his return to action with two goals.
Soshnikov’s availability for this game was a big boost. In addition to head coach Tomi Lamsa, forward Markus Granlund and defenseman Phillip Larsen, all of whom missed the previous game against Sochi, Ufa was also without Teemu Hartikainen, Vladimir Zharkov and Grigory Panin for this game. Those goals from Soshnikov’s return were more than timely.
Despite the problems with the line-up, Salavat Yulaev started at a high tempo and went ahead midway through the first period thanks to a power play goal from Dmitry Kugryshev, following a well-worked attack. Traktor’s PP was less effective, spurning a 5-on-3 chance as Juha Metsola made a great save to deny Jacob Berglund.
Early in the second, Soshnikov got his first of the season, again on the power play as Traktor’s offense continued to splutter. The Chelyabinsk team was blanked in its previous game and had to wait until seconds before the intermission before Sergei Kalinin reduced the deficit here.
The visitor looked to build on that at the start of the third, with Lukas Sedlak wasting a great chance to tie it up when he fired into Metsola’s pads. Shortly afterwards, Soshnikov settled the matter, surging down the right before beating Roman Will to make it 3-1.
Nail Yakupov picked the perfect moment to get his first goal for Amur. With just 38 seconds left in overtime, the forward grabbed the game-winner to lift his team off the foot of the KHL table.
Yakupov’s first goal came as the Zohorna brothers made their first appearances of the season for the Tigers. Tomas and Hynek were named on Yakupov’s line, and the latter got the assist on the winning goal. Earlier, Tomas had a helper when Gleb Koryagin gave Amur the lead midway through the second period. Yakupov, too, contributed an assist when Valery Vasilyev’s power play goal cancelled out an early opener from Jordan Szwarz.
Torpedo found itself under pressure for much of regulation — the home team blocked 22 shots on the night as Amur took every opportunity to test the defense. But Anton Shenfeld’s goal in the 49th minute ensured David Nemirovsky’s team earned a point from this game.
Historically, Severstal has a been a tricky opponent for CSKA. The Steelmen won their previous three games on the Army Men’s ice and, with Andrei Razin’s team looking promising this season, there were high hopes for the visitor here. CSKA, by contrast, was disappointing in a 2-4 loss to Metallurg last time out and, despite riding high in the Western Conference, currently lacks the aura of invincibility we’re used to seeing from Igor Nikitin’s team.
However, Thursday’s result made a mockery of any suggestions that Severstal could continue its hex over the Muscovites. For all the first period was competitive, CSKA’s finishing was clinical. Two goals from eight shots, both coming late in the frame, set the tone. Maxim Shalunov and Konstantin Okulov did the damage, seeing the home team go to the intermission with a comfortable lead.
The visitor remained competitive in the second frame, with the teams evenly matched in a session disrupted by frequent minor penalties. But when it came to the all-important business of putting pucks in the net, CSKA had that little bit extra. Shalunov got his second of the game early in the third and Artyom Blazhiyevsky made it 4-0 in the 49th minute. Maxim Mamin wrapped it up with a fifth goal late in the game. The scoreline may have flattered the home team, but the win was deserved.
A late goal from Michal Cajkovsky gave Dynamo a hard-earned win beside the Black Sea. Sochi put in another improved performance but could not build on Tuesday’s victory at Salavat Yulaev. The Leopards missed the chance to break into the top eight for the first time this season, while Dynamo climbs to third in the West after a fifth straight win.
Although Cajkovsky got the winning goal, it was Vadim Shipachyov who made the biggest impact on the night. The Dynamo forward has long been the fulcrum of his team’s attack and here he had a hand in all three Blue-and-White goals. His first assist helped Juuso Hietanen break the deadlock midway through the game. Sochi responded with its Swedish connection — Marcus Nilsson setting up Malte Stromwall early in the third period.
But Shipachyov wasn’t done. He combined with Hietanen for Dmitrij Jaskin to make it 2-1 on a power play midway through the final stanza. This time, the lead lasted barely a minute before Stromwall turned provider and Nilsson got his first goal since the opening game. But the home team could not turn the game around. With two minutes left, Shipachyov and Jaskin fashioned an opening for Cajkovsky and the Slovak international defenseman decided the outcome.