A week ago, SKA iced the youngest roster in KHL history when these teams met in Petersburg, and suffered a 4-1 loss despite a battling performance. Today, an older and wiser line-up got some revenge in a high-scoring game.
Anton Belov and Yaroslavl Dyblenko added some experience to the defense, and the forwards were boosted by a new line comprised of players loaned from North America. Yakov Trenin (Predators), Mikhail Maltsev (Devils) and Dmitry Zavgorodny (Oilers) were all pitched straight into the action after confirming their temporary returns to Russia; Maltsev was making his 48th appearance for SKA, having debuted back in 2018.
Reinforcements or not, SKA still found it tough going during the first period. Sibir took the lead through Viktor Komarov and went further ahead when Dmitry Sayustov scored on the power play after 16 minutes.
It stayed at 2-0 until the midway point, then everything changed — and fast. Andrei Kuzmenko put SKA on the scoreboard, Sibir’s Ilya Pastukhov made it 3-1 and then the visitor fired home three goals in less than two minutes to move ahead. And the youngsters were heavily involved in the fightback. Artyom Nikolayev (21) and Arseny Brinkman (19) had helpers as Vladimir Tkachyov made it 2-3. Ivan Volodin picked up his first point in the KHL with an assist as Dyblenko tied the scores. Then Brinkman scored his first senior goal to give SKA the lead going into the third, with Zavgorodny getting an assist.
Sibir wasn’t quite finished. Nikita Shashkov made it 4-4 but the momentum was firmly with SKA. Belov made it 5-4 midway through the third and Miro Aaltonen’s empty net goal finished it off. Zavgorodny, a rising star with Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL, completed a hat-trick of assists on his KHL debut.
Avtomobilist snapped a three-game losing streak with an impressive road win in Ufa. The home team, unbeaten in its previous two games, was looking to close on Chernyshev Division leader Avangard but found the visitor’s power play too hot to handle.
Alexander Skrynnik got a rare start in goal ahead of Juha Metsola for this game, and he was beaten on the first PP of the game. Pavel Datsyuk quickly extended his productive streak to nine games with an assist as Georgy Belousov opened the scoring in the fourth minute. Avtomobilist then killed three penalties in quick succession and the relative potency of the special teams proved to be decisive in this game.
The second period saw Avto underline that point. Three Ufa penalties led to three more Yekaterinburg goals, with Brooks Macek, Alexei Makeyev and Anatoly Golyshev all finding the net. Belousov got his second point of the game, assisting on Golyshev’s goal and returning his team-mate’s favor from the first period.
It wasn’t until the third that the Salavat power play got on the board at last. Young Rodion Amirov, who opened his KHL account with two goals against Vityaz in the previous game, added a third to his collection when he shot home from the top of the circle. Ilya Baranov provided the traffic in front of Jakub Kovar to deny the Czech a shut-out. However, there was no time left for Ufa to build on that solitary goal and Avtomobilist went away with the points.