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Janis Kalnins made 39 saves to thwart Salavat Yulaev as Jokerit win 3-0 in Ufa. Metallurg’s good form continued with a 3-1 win over Dynamo Moscow, its second victory over the Blue-and-Whites in two weeks. Daniil Vovchenko scored the goal of the day, a lacrosse-style effort to give Severstal victory over Spartak, while Ak Bars was the day’s highest scorer in a 7-2 thrashing of Dinamo Minsk. Sochi defeated Neftekhimik, Traktor blanked Sibir and Torpedo held off a Barys fightback to win in Kazakhstan.

Kalnins denies Ufa

Salavat Yulaev Ufa 0 Jokerit Helsinki 3 (0-1, 0-1, 0-1)

Ufa has a great relationship with its Finnish players — but Salavat Yulaev has big problems playing against Finnish opposition. Jokerit is something of bogey team for the Bashkirs and proved that point yet again with a recent 3-1 win in Helsinki. Today’s return game saw Lauri Marjamaki’s team make it five straight successes against the men in green.

Salavat Yulaev started the game well, and was on top in the first period until it ran into penalty trouble. As a consequence, the session ended with Alex Grant giving Jokerit a lead to take into the intermission.

The second period brought a more even game, with both goalies impressing. Janis Kalnins, who finished with 39 saves, denied Dmitry Kugryshev and Sakari Manninen to preserve Jokerit’s lead, while Juha Metsola was only beaten late in the frame when Veli-Matti Savinainen doubled the lead. Jokerit got the puck in the net once more, but that effort was ruled out for a high stick.

The home team had its chances to save the game in the third. Three successive power plays midway through the frame saw Ufa’s special teams try — and fail — to beat Kalnins. Not even Teemu Hartikainen, Salavat’s leading scorer this season, could find the answer; he missed a great chance from close range. In the end, the visitor scored again when Niklas Jensen converted an odd-man rush to wrap up the win.

Varone’s double in vain

Barys Nur-Sultan 2 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 3 (0-1, 2-2, 0-0)

Barys battled back from 0-3 down but fell short of saving this game. Two goals from Filip Varone pushed Torpedo to the limit, but the visitor held on to win the game.

Damir Zhafyarov was on the verge of setting a club record after scoring in 11 successive games. However, he could not make it 12 in Kazakhstan and club captain Mikhail Varnakov took over as the key forward. He had an assist on Sergei Goncharuk’s opener and scored the second himself before Justin Kloos made it 3-0 in the 28th minute.

Then came the fight back. Varone reduced the deficit on the power play midway through the game and got his second of the night as the middle frame drew to a close. However, there was no scoring in the third as Torpedo closed out the win.

Metallurg defeats Dynamo again

Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3 Dynamo Moscow 1 (1-0, 2-0, 0-1)

For the second time in 11 days, Magnitka got the better of Dynamo. The Steelmen bounced back from a 0-3 loss at Ak Bars on Wednesday to keep up its improved form of recent weeks.

Photo: 11.12.20. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) - Dynamo (Moscow)

Dynamo handed a debut to Emil Garipov, recently arrived from Avangard, but the newcomer was beaten after just five minutes. Yegor Yakovlev fired home Andrei Chibisov’s feed to open the scoring. The other big incident of the opening frame was Oscar Lindberg’s foul on Grigory Dronov. The defenseman limped back to the locker room, while the Dynamo forward was expelled from the game.

Dronov was back for the second period, while the visitor was left without one of its centers. Midway through the session, Metallurg increased its lead with that Chibisov-Yakovlev axis delivering a second goal, with the defenseman this time producing a baseball swing to bat home the rebound from the forward’s shot. Late in the frame, a great assist from Sergei Plotnikov helped Dennis Rasmussen make it 3-0.

In the third period, Magnitka was close to blanking Dynamo. However, in the 58th minute, Vladislav Yefremov spoiled that record with a consolation goal for the visitor.

Will blanks Sibir

Traktor Chelyabinsk 2 Sibir Novosibirsk 0 (0-0, 2-0, 0-0)

Traktor got a much-needed win after a run of indifferent form. Victory over Sibir improved on a recent sequence of four losses in five games. The visitor missed the chance to improve its position in the race for a playoff place, while the home team consolidated its grip on fourth in the Eastern Conference.

The first period saw Traktor enjoy most of the play, but the home team managed just four shots on goal. However, it wasn’t long before the home team put that right in the second. Pontus Aberg shot from a tight angle and Sergei Kalinin steered home the rebound. Midway through the game Alexander Avtsin added a power play goal to double the home lead.

The two goalies dominated the third period, with Roman Will completing his shut-out to lead Traktor to victory. The Czech finished with 25 saves.

Rubtsov’s double puts Sochi on top

HC Sochi 4 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 2 (0-0, 4-2, 0-0)

Neftekhimik remains at the foot of the Eastern Conference after losing out in Sochi. German Rubtsov scored twice for the home team in his best game since returning to Russia on loan from North America. The 22-year-old’s only previous goal was back on Sep. 29.

Oddly, all six goals came in the second period. Neftkehimik led briefly when Bulat Shafigullin opened the scoring, but Rubtsov soon tied the scores and Maxim Mineyev made it 2-1. Pavel Poryadin, Neftekhimik’s leading player this season, put the visitor back on level terms, but after that Sochi took control.

Daniil Miromanov’s power play goal midway through the game made it 3-2 and late in the second period, Rubtsov’s second of the night gave his team a lead that it would not relinquish. A sensible third-period performance secured a third win in six games for the home team.

Vovchenko plays lacrosse, Severstal beats Spartak

Severstal Cherepovets 4 Spartak Moscow 3 (1-1, 1-1, 2-1)

This was a big game in the battle for the playoff places in the West, and Severstal’s win opened a two-point gap over its opponent. The Steelmen are now sixth in the conference, five points clear of Vityaz in ninth. For the third time this season, the two teams produced a 4-3 scoreline; this was the second time it went in Severstal’s favor.

Photo: 11.12.20. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Severstal (Cherepovets) - Spartak (Moscow)

In the first period, Spartak went ahead in the eighth minute thanks to a Sergei Shirokov power play goal. Teenager Nikita Guslistov brought Severstal level with his first KHL goal. The second stanza was almost a mirror image, with Severstal moving in front on the power play before Andrei Zubarev tied the scores.

The home team built a decisive lead in the third. Denis Vikharev scored early in the session and Daniil Vovchenko’s lacrosse-style goal made it 4-2 in the 50th minute. Spartak pulled one back thanks to Emil Djuse, but could not make up the rest of the ground.

Eastern leader thrashes Dinamo

Ak Bars Kazan 7 Dinamo Minsk 2 (2-0, 2-1, 3-1)

Dinamo’s improvement this season has been one of the talking points of the year — but against the Eastern Conference leader the Bison got a reality check. Ak Bars dominated this game from the off and romped to a comfortable victory that offers some perspective about the gap between the top teams and the chasing pack.

First period goals from Artyom Galimov and Danis Zaripov gave the home team a solid platform from which to build. Then, in the second period, Ak Bars scored two short-handed goals to take the game away from the visitor. Artyom Lukoyanov struck first, then Kirill Petrov repeated the trick late in the session after Mikhail Fisenko was removed from the game. In between, Stepan Falkovsky pulled one back for Dinamo during a passage of 4-on-4 play after Fisenko’s departure.

Any lingering doubt about the outcome was crushed in the third. Dmitry Yudin made it 5-1, then imports Stephane Da Costa and Nigel Dawes completed the rout. Dinamo at last managed a power play goal through Ivan Lodnia, but it was scant consolation.

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