Dinamo was unable to build on its winning return to action, going down to a defeat at Vityaz after its impressive shoot-out victory over Dinamo Minsk. Kaspars Daugavins was a thorn in his compatriots’ side, leading the way in a big win.
When these teams met in early September, the Latvians edged a 4-3 verdict as Vityaz endured a stuttering start to the season. Since then, though, Mikhail Kravets’ team has improved and it went into Saturday’s game on a run of three wins from four games. That upswing in form has been partially inspired by the club’s imports beginning to gel, and this was in evidence early on when Justin Danforth and Mattias Tedenby combined to set up Daugavins for the opening goal.
That lead lasted barely 60 seconds, though, with Dinamo hitting back through captain Lauris Darzins in the eighth minute. The rest of the opening frame was goalless, although Riga had a slight advantage on the balance of play, helped by two power plays.
Vityaz took a stronger grip of proceedings after the break, though, and opened a two-goal lead. Danforth got the second, midway through the frame, with Daugavins and Tedenby among the assists. Then, in the 37th minute, Swedish defenseman Linus Hultstrom made it 3-1, potting his second goal in the KHL.
Two quick goals late in the game put the outcome well beyond the reach of Dinamo. Daugavins, playing against his hometown team, added an assist on Pavel Varfolomeyev’s power play goal before scoring his second of the night. The Latvian forward finished with four points and Vityaz made it six goals when Artyom Ivanyuzhenkov scored his first career goal in this league.
Jokerit’s start to the season saw the Finns pick up impressive wins against the KHL’s outsiders but struggle to get results against other teams expected to be in the playoff mix. Today, for the first time, Lauri Marjamaki’s team gave evidence that it can thrive against the stronger teams in the league. An assured win at Lokomotiv, the team Jokerit defeated in last season’s abbreviated playoff, drew the Jokers level on points with the Railwaymen.
The visitor took the game to Loko from the start. Alex Grant and Eeli Tolvanen both went close before Jordan Schroeder opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a shot that squeezed in from the corner of the rink. A flurry of penalties early in the second period had the teams playing 4-on-3; Loko had the man advantage and capitalized when Vladimir Tkachyov tied the game in the 25th minute.
Lokomotiv looked to keep up the pressure, firing in shots at every opportunity in the second period. Jokerit, meanwhile, took a more considered approach and got its reward. Jakub Krejcik quickly restored the visitor’s lead, Tommi Kivisto hit the post from long range and Niklas Jensen potted his fourth goal in three games just before the intermission.
The story was not yet over, though. Loko continued to press in the third period and threw the game right back into the balance in the 54th minute. Yegor Korshkov got the host’s second goal of the night, capitalizing on a slip by visiting goalie Anders Lindback to make it 2-3. However, Jokerit held on to claim the win and go to sixth in the West.
It was an unfamiliar Ufa roster that arrived in Nizhnekamsk for the start of this road trip. The team was without its Finnish imports, including head coach Tomi Lamsa. Nikolai Tsulygin was back behind the bench in his absence. Danish defenseman Philip Larsen made a welcome return to action while young Rodion Amirov — who will learn his NHL draft destiny this week — was on the first line.
For half of the game, it looked like Salavat might miss its big-name players. The first period was goalless and the second began with a goal from Neftekhimik’s Vladimir Galuzin. But after Mikhail Vorobyov tied it up in the 30th minute, Ufa took control of the game.
The back end of the middle frame brought two more goals, both on the power play. Vorobyov turned provider for Ilya Baranov as the 25-year-old forward continues to make the most of his call-up from the VHL. Then Larsen celebrated his return from injury with a goal to make it 3-1 at the second intermission.
In the third period, 19-year-old Danil Alalykin put the game beyond doubt. The teenager scored his first KHL goal almost exactly a year ago in a win over Torpedo; today, called up from the reserves once again, he doubled his tally in the big league to make the final score 4-1.