Sergei Mozyakin’s 500th KHL assist helped Metallurg to plunder a late victory and close to within a point of third-placed Salavat Yulaev. The home captain reached the latest landmark in an era-defining career when he contributed to Philip Holm’s game-winner in the 56th minute. Metallurg won an attacking face-off, Mozyakin collected the puck and went into the corner before recycling play back to Grigory Dronov at the point. The defenseman passed along the blue line to Holm, who fired in a one-timer while Juha Metsola was screened by #91 and could not react in time to make the save.
That goal came against the run of play. Although Magnitka started the game well, Salavat Yulaev rallied to claw back a 0-2 deficit and looked more likely to score in the third period. However, after Holm’s strike Metallurg had the puck in the net for a fourth time, only for Sergei Plotnikov’s empty-net goal to be whistled off for a high stick in the build-up.
Early in the game, Metallurg took the lead when Philip Larsen’s attempt to clear the puck from behind his net went straight to Artyom Zemchyonok. The 29-year-old defenseman showed no hesitation, lashing a one-timer past Metsola. Goal number two arrived soon afterwards, with a peach of a pass from Plotnikov finding Andrei Chibisov at the back door, and his no-look feed in front of the net was gobbled up by Nikolai Prokhorkin.
Salavat Yulaev got one goal back before the intermission when Markus Granlund skated onto a shot from Grigory Panin, controlled the puck and beat Juho Olkinuora up close. Then the visitor tied the game in the second when Rodion Amirov smuggled the puck away from Prokhorkin and Alexander Alexeyev fired home from the top of the circle.
Sochi slipped to a sixth successive loss as an overtime goal from Kaspars Daugavins secured a valuable victory for Vityaz. The Moscow Region team remains in ninth but is now just three points adrift of Spartak and has a game in hand.
The Latvian international took matters into his own hands at the start of the extras, collecting the puck after Vityaz won an attacking face-off and surging into the danger zone to shoot home from between the hash marks.
But the visitor had to come from behind to win this one. Sergei Shmelyov, Sochi’s leading scorer, got the first goal of the game after seven minutes. The forward extended his goal streak to three games and his productive series to four as he gave the Leopards the lead. After that, for a long time it was all about Ilya Ezhov in the visitor’s net. He finished his day with 30 saves to prevent the home team from adding to its good start.
However, Vityaz is in urgent need of points to stay in the race for a playoff place and as the game wore on the visitor took greater control of the action. By the third period, Mikhail Kravets’ team was on top and reward came when Alexander Dergachyov scored a power play goal with six minutes on the clock. That took us to overtime, where Daugavins settled the outcome.