Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Dmitrij Jaskin scored his 30th goal of the season to give Dynamo a 2-1 win at home to Vityaz. The Czech is nine ahead of his closest rivals in this year’s goalscoring race. In Riga, a first ever KHL goal for young defenseman Daniil Chaika set the seal on a 7-1 victory for CSKA. SKA got its first win of 2021, beating Sochi 3-1, while in the East Amur and Salavat Yulaev both won by the same scoreline. Ak Bars went to Kazakhstan and won 4-2, helped by two goals from former Barys players.

Quickfire double tames the Dragons

Amur Khabarovsk 3 Kunlun Red Star 1 (1-0, 2-0, 0-1)

Two goals in seven seconds set Amur on the way to its second victory in three days against Red Star. Alexander Sharov and Dmitry Lugin found the net in quick succession early in the middle and the Dragons were unable to recover.

The first period was evenly-matched, but Sharov put the Tigers in front midway through when he capitalized on a defensive error to open the scoring. Then, early in the second, the home team took complete control. Sharov potted his second of the game then, right from the face-off, Amur surged forward again and Lugin rifled home a Vladimir Butuzov feed.

Tempers ran high, and there was a fight between Spencer Foo and Tomas Zohorna midway through the second period. Then, in the third, Amur’s Valery Vasilyev was ejected from the game for boarding and the power play enabled the visitor to pull a goal back. Vyacheslav Leshchenko scored his fifth for the club, but it wasn’t enough to deny the Tigers a third victory of the season over the Chinese club.

Late flourish gives Salavat the win

Sibir Novosibirsk 1 Salavat Yulaev Ufa 3 (0-0, 0-0, 1-3)

Salavat Yulaev left it late to win this game, tying the scores in the 55th minute then hitting the net twice in the 59th to leave Sibir frustrated. The result lifts the Ufa team back to third place in the East, while the host missed a chance to close on eighth-placed Barys.

The opening goal was a long time in coming. Although the stats suggested a fairly even encounter, in reality Sibir was the more dangerous team for much of the action. Daniil Tarasov, playing his first game since the Dec. 26 visit to Novosibirsk, made several good saves to keep the game deadlocked.

It wasn’t until the 48th minute that Sibir’s pressure finally got its reward. Viktor Komarov was the hero, breaking into the Salavat Yulaev zone and going top shelf to beat Tarasov at last. However, the visitor tied it up with a goal involving two of its World Junior stars. Shakir Mukhamadullin, playing his first game since returning from Edmonton, scored off the rebound from Danil Bashkirov’s shot.

Then came the game-breaking finale. On 58:29, Geoff Platt scored off a Alexander Alexeyev feed to give Salavat Yulaev the lead for the first time. Twenty-nine seconds later, Pyotr Khokhryakov wrapped it up with an empty net goal. For the third time this season, Salavat Yulaev took a 3-1 verdict against Sibir.

Ex-Barys boys star in Nur-Sultan

Barys Nur-Sultan 2 Ak Bars Kazan 4 (1-1, 1-2, 0-1)

KHL leader Ak Bars turned to a couple of former Barys forwards to supply the firepower on this trip to Nur-Sultan. The Eastern Conference top dog recorded its third successive victory in the Barys Arena and moved to 70 points for the season.

Photo: 12.01.21. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Barys (Nur-Sultan) - Ak Bars (Kazan)

In the early stages, the pace of the visitor’s game had Barys stretched and the host ran into penalty trouble. The second power play of the game paid off for Ak Bars, with Kirill Petrov opening the scoring in the 14th minute. However, Kirill Panyukov led the response, tying the scores late in the first period on a 3-on-1 break, then putting the home team in front with a power play goal at the start of the second. That’s the first double in his KHL career.

In the opposing ranks, Nigel Dawes is well known for his heavy scoring — when he played for Barys he was known as the hat-trick king. This was his first return to Nur-Sultan as an Ak Bars player after missing the teams’ October meetings due to injury and while he didn’t manage another hat-trick in these familiar surroundings, he was still able to remind his old club what he could do when his power play goal tied the scores almost immediately.

From that point on, the visitor took control. A minute later, Stanislav Galiyev broke away to make it 3-2 and Ak Bars had the edge for the remainder of the second period without adding to its lead. Then, 35 seconds into the final stanza, some hesitant home defense helped Patrice Cormier mark his first appearance since Dec. 24 with a goal. Like Dawes, Cormier began his KHL career in Kazakhstan; this was a night when former players came back to haunt the home team. Buoyed by its 4-2 lead, Ak Bars played out the rest of the game calmly to bounce back from Sunday’s heavy defeat in the Green Derby.

SKA snaps losing streak

SKA St. Petersburg 3 HC Sochi 1 (1-0, 2-0, 0-1)

SKA got its first win of 2021, seeing off Sochi on home ice and leaving the Leopards still searching for victory in the new year.

The home time was quick to take control of the play and might have opened the scoring even before Emil Galimov’s 16th-minute effort. Ex-Sochi forward Malte Stromwall sent Galimov into the visitor’s zone and he overpowered one defenseman before beating Maxim Tretyak.

Stromwall was also involved in SKA’s second, shortly after the break, starting a move that ended with a point shot from Yaroslav Dyblenko finding the net. And, midway through the game, Andrei Kuzmenko added to the two goals he scored on CSKA last time out to make it 3-0 on the power play.

Amid Sochi’s problems this season, the form of Sergei Shmelyov has been a rare consolation. The 27-year-old broke through the 30-point barrier for the first time since 2014-2015 when he played for Atlant. Today he pulled a goal back for the visitor early in the third period, moving to 33 (15+18) points for the season. That’s his best ever goal tally, and just four behind his 37-point haul of 2015.

However, it was not enough to spark a fightback, with SKA closing out the game to secure the win for the first time this year.

Jaskin pots 30th goal of the season

Dynamo Moscow 2 Vityaz Moscow Region 1 (1-0, 0-0, 1-1)

Vityaz missed its chance to close the gap on eighth-placed Severstal as Dynamo ended the visitor’s two-game winning streak in a close encounter in Moscow.

Photo: 12.01.21. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Dynamo (Moscow) - Vityaz (Moscow Region)

Dynamo opened the scoring with a power play goal in the ninth minute. Yegor Zaitsev’s shot looped up off a Vityaz stick, losing much of its momentum but falling into the path of Ivan Igumnov, who batted it into the net. The 24-year-old extended his productive streak to five games (two goals and three assists on that run).

Vityaz responded early in the third period with a power play goal from Pavel Vorobei. The Belarusian defenseman potted his first goal of the current campaign to tie the game in the 47th minute. However, while Vorobei has one for the season, Dynamo’s Dmitrij Jaskin took his personal tally to 30 goals with the gamewinner six minutes from the end. True, the Czech didn’t know all that much about how it found the net — a big bounce off the back boards enabled him to shoot from a tight angle and get a deflection off the back of goalie Ilya Ezhov — but it was enough to secure a third victory over Vityaz this season.

Clinical CSKA routs Riga

Dinamo Riga 1 CSKA Moscow 7 (0-3, 0-2, 1-2)

Bottom hosted top in the Western Conference and the game went exactly as the form book suggested. CSKA was on top from start to finish, romping to a convincing victory in Latvia. Impressively, the Army Men scored seven goals from just 22 shots on target as both Ivan Nalimov and Eriks Vitols had a hard time coping with a clinical visiting offense. Dinamo also posted 22 shots on Alexander Sharychenkov, but managed just one goal.

The game was all but decided inside the first 10 minutes as goals from Maxim Shalunov and Sergei Andronov opened a 2-0 lead for the visitor. A CSKA power play added to Dinamo’s woes as John Gilmour took advantage to register his first goal in the KHL.

Early in the second period, the Army Men scored two in quick succession, with Nikita Korostelyov making it 4-0 before Andronov got his second of the game. Danil Yurtaikin had assists on both the Andronov goals, making it four points in two games for him as he adjusts to life back in the KHL.

Ivan Telegin, a seasoned campaigned for club and country, added a sixth at the start of the third period. Late in the game, there was a special moment for 18-year-old defenseman Daniil Chaika. The youngster marked his return to club action with a goal in his first game since departing for the World Juniors in December.

However, Chaika did not have the final word. Dinamo battled until the end and grabbed a 59th-minute consolation goal through Evgeny Grachyov.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
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Ak Bars (Kazan) Ak Bars (Kazan)
Amur (Khabarovsk) Amur (Khabarovsk)
Barys (Nur-Sultan) Barys (Nur-Sultan)
Vityaz (Moscow Region) Vityaz (Moscow Region)
Dynamo (Moscow) Dynamo (Moscow)
Dinamo (Riga) Dinamo (Riga)
Kunlun Red Star (Beijing) Kunlun Red Star (Beijing)
Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)
Sibir (Novosibirsk Region) Sibir (Novosibirsk Region)
SKA (Saint Petersburg) SKA (Saint Petersburg)
HC Sochi (Sochi) HC Sochi (Sochi)
CSKA (Moscow) CSKA (Moscow)
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