Sibir battled back from 0-2 to snap its four-game losing streak and leave high-flying Dinamo wondering how this game got away. The visitor, one of the form teams in the Western Conference, was up by two inside 10 minutes but found itself trailing at the first intermission. Subsequently, the Belarusians had the better of the remainder of the game but could not find a way past Harri Sateri to retrieve the situation.
Dinamo took the lead on the first power play of the game, but only after a video review confirmed that the rebound from Malte Stromwall’s effort was gloved over the line by Sibir defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka, not Minsk forward Mario Kempe. Shortly after that, with the teams playing 4-on-4, Kirill Voronin took matters into his own hands, skating the length of the ice to beat Sateri and double the lead.
Sibir hit back with two goals in 15 seconds to tie the scores. First Nikita Korotkov forced a turnover in his own D-zone and raced away to reduce the deficit. Then, from the restart, Alexander Sharov brought the teams level. Late in the opening frame, Dinamo got into trouble on the transition and play came back for Nikita Setdikov to make it 3-2.
And that proved to be the game winner. Dinamo had chances to respond, with Roman Gorbunov bringing the best out of Sateri after intercepting the puck in center ice and skating through one-on-one with the home goalie. Then, in the final moments, Taylor Beck hit the crossbar. That proved to be his team’s last chance and Sibir secured the win.
Lokomotiv’s Artyom Anisimov, back at his hometown club after 13 seasons in the NHL, marked his return with a debut goal at Barys. It wasn’t the 33-year-old’s first in the KHL — he scored 12 during half a season with Loko during the 2012-2013 lock-out — but it was his first under a long-term contract with the club since he left Russia at the end of the 2006-2007 campaign while still a junior.
His big moment came after 15 minutes. Alexander Polunin’s rush drew the attention of too many Barys players and when Anisimov picked up a pass in the center of the O-zone, he had a clear route to goal and wasted no time in beating Nikita Boyarkin. At the other end, former Barys goalie Eddie Pasquale picked up an assist on his return to Kazakhstan.
That goal set Loko on its way to victory. Maxim Shalunov doubled the lead in the 28th minute, converting the first power play of the game. Early in the third, Nikita Mikhailis extended his productive streak to eight games as Jakob Lilja pulled a goal back for Barys, but power play goals late in the game from Alexei Marchenko and Pavel Kudryavtsev took the game away from the home team.
Traktor recovered from its 6-1 drubbing against Salavat Yulaev to edge Avtomobilist in an entertaining game. The home team rested regulars Albert Yarullin and Vladimir Tkachyov for this one and finally came out on top after a shoot-out.
However, Avtomobilist played a full part in an absorbing encounter. The visitor made the better start and went in front after five minutes thanks to Georgy Belousov. That prompted Traktor to raise its game and each passing minute brought more pressure from the home team until Ilya Karpukhin tied it up in the 14th minute.
In the second period, both Roman Will and Vladimir Galkin had to be at their best in their respective nets. It wasn’t until Traktor got the first power play of the game that we saw another goal, Lukas Sedlak making it 2-1 to the home team. However, within a minute Belousov’s second of the night tied it up once more.
After that high tempo action, both teams eased a little in the third. In place of a high press, there was now room to build offense more carefully. Against that backdrop, it was a little surprising to see Nikita Tertyshny make it 3-2 midway through the session. Once again, though, Avtomobilist hit back: Belousov had an assist this time as Ryan Spooner tied the scores.
That led us into overtime, in which Traktor failed to convert a power play, before Teemu Pulkkinen got the decisive tally in the shoot-out.
Ak Bars shot down the Hawks’ six-game winning streak. This game was both a repeat of last season’s Eastern Conference final — won by Avangard on its way to lifting the Gagarin Cup — and a preview of December’s KHL World Games match-up in Dubai. And it provided plenty of intrigue as two of the KHL’s big guns went head-to-head.
It wasn’t long before the fans saw something a bit special. Roman Rukavishnikov’s shot flashed wide, but Kirill Petrov collected the puck off the back board and squeezed into the net through his own legs. All while standing beyond the goal line. It was an audacious finish that left Simon Hrubec with no chance.
After outshooting Avangard 12-6, Ak Bars could feel a little aggrieved not to take a lead into the first intermission. But within two minutes of the restart the home team was back in front. Some lax play behind the net from Avangard handed Ak Bars possession and Nikita Lyamkin’s point shot bounced out for Dmitry Voronkov to score. Late in the middle frame, with Voronkov sitting out a minor, the home team made it 3-1. Ilya Safonov overpowered #57 as he struggled to keep the puck in the Ak Bars zone, then burst clear to beat Hrubec. Avangard managed to get one goal back even before the intermission, with the visitor forcing a turnover this time and Vladimir Zharkov making it 2-3 just before the hooter.
However, any hopes of using that as the springboard for a revival in the third foundered for Bob Hartley’s team. Ak Bars played the situation perfectly, shutting down space all over the ice and allowing the Hawks just three shots at Igor Bobkov in the final frame. Indeed, Avangard managed just 14 shots in the entire game, a tribute to the defensive effort put in by the home team.