Avtomobilist’s miserable run continued after it slipped to a sixth straight loss in a goaltending duel against Salavat Yulaev. The visitor had Daniil Tarasov to thank for the win — the 21-year-old, elevated to the senior team due to an injury to Juha Metsola, made 31 saves to claim his second shut-out of the season. Not a bad return in just five appearances this term.
Tarasov’s busiest spell came late in the second period. Avtomobilist twice got on the power play, but could find no way past the visiting goalie. When the youngster was beaten early in the third period, he had a reprieve — Pavel Datsyuk’s shot came back off the frame of the goal and the game remained goalless. Sakari Manninen also had a good chance at the other end, and Avtomobilist might have forced a win late in the game when it had another power play but today the home offense just wasn’t in gear.
In overtime, Alexei Makeyev’s interference penalty gave Ufa the initiative. Out came the free-scoring Finnish line and they combined for Markus Granlund to get the winner. Manninen’s assist extends his productive streak to nine games, Teemu Hartikainen also added a helper.
Jokerit went to SKA and battled to a shoot-out win. The result gets Lauri Marjamaki’s team back on track after narrow losses at Torpedo and Vityaz had the Finns close to dropping out of the playoff places.
SKA got in front midway through the first period after Anders Lindback spilled a long range shot under little pressure. Kirill Marchenko was first to the rebound and he used his skills to take the goalie out of the game before slipping the puck into an empty net. Lindback was at fault for that one, but the goalie pulled off a big save as the intermission approached, getting his blocker to a Joonas Kemppainen one timer and keeping it a one-goal game.
After the break, Jokerit had more to offer as an attacking force. Marko Anttila tested Magnus Hellberg early in the second period and midway through the session the visitor stepped up the pressure on SKA’s net. Brian O’Neill fired in a dangerous wrist shot that looped up off Hellberg’s shoulder and dropped to safety, then Niklas Jensen tested the Swede with a powerful effort from the left. That was merely the warm-up. In the 33rd minute, Henrik Haapala got the puck in the net. The goal was made by Saku Maenalanen, who burst down the left and fired the puck behind Iiro Parakinen to the center of the SKA zone. Haapala was waiting and his one-timer from the edge of the circle gave Hellberg no chance.
There was no further scoring in the third and for a long time there were few chances. In the closing minutes, though, both teams had an opportunity to grab a winner, with Jensen testing Hellberg before Lindback held on to deny Miro Aaltonen and Linden Vey. Then came overtime, played in a single passage of five minutes without a whistle. It wasn’t until the last second that we came close to a stoppage when Hellberg made a glove save to deny Jordan Schroeder, but the hooter sounded before the officials could award an attacking face-off to the visitor.
In the shoot-out, Jokerit’s players were irresistible. After Alex Grant fired wide of the mark with the first attempt, the next four efforts all found the target. Schroeder, John Norman, Haapala and Jesse Joensuu all beat Hellberg to give the visitor a much-needed win — it’s first in Petersburg since January 2017.
Vityaz eased past struggling Dinamo Riga and kept up the pressure on Jokerit in the race for a top eight finish. The Latvians remain adrift at the foot of the KHL standings.
After a goalless first period, Dinamo went in front early in the second. Miks Indrasis, finally back on the goal trail after a slow start to the season, made it five goals in four games. Indrasis only got his first of the season two weeks ago, now he’s up to six and demonstrating why Riga was keen to bring him home after a spell at Dynamo Moscow.
However, Vityaz was not about to throw away a game it needed to win to keep the pressure on Jokerit in the race for the playoffs. Two goals in the 33rd minute put the home team ahead. Danila Moiseyev, a scorer in Saturday’s overtime win against the Finns, tied the scores before Yury Pautov made it 2-1. Late in the frame, Moiseyev struck again to give the home team a comfortable 3-1 lead.
Dinamo shaded the third period as it looked to get back into the game, but the visitor could find no way past Ilya Ezhov in the Vityaz net. The final word came from Pautov, scoring his second of the game into an empty net to complete the win.