Barys moved back into the top eight with a hard-fought victory in Khabarovsk. Joni Ortio played a huge role with 34 saves to blunt the Tigers’ claws, while Kirill Savitsky got the only goal midway through the game.
Both teams played on the front foot in the first period, but the visitor enjoyed the better of the game. Barys led the way in terms of shots on goal and face-off wins but the closest it came to a goal was an effort off the post.
The middle frame was more cautious, but Barys managed to unlock the home defense in the 33rd minute. Arkady Shestakov’s shot cannoned off the boards and went to Yegor Shalapov at the point. He fired the puck goalwards and Savitsky was perfectly placed on the doorstep to steer it past Evgeny Alikin. Savitsky’s second goal of the season proved to be the game breaker.
Amur was once again let down by its power play, which has a success rate of just 12.2% this season and failed to score today. In the closing stages, Barys was content to focus on closing out the win, with Ortio’s fine form securing the points.
League leader Metallurg was some way short of its fluent best, but still had enough to secure a sixth straight victory on Saturday. Ilya Vorobyov’s team moves to 44 points, six clear of its closest rival, despite the absence of in-form forward Brendan Leipsic.
For Vityaz, struggling at the foot of the Western Conference, this was a third successive loss. But the Moscow Region team had reason to be encouraged by a battling performance that might have garnered greater reward than a solitary Niko Ojamaki goal late in the second period. The visitor topped the shot count 47-33 and had a third-period goal ruled out following a bench challenge after Yegor Zubov forced the puck over the line during a battle against Mikhail Pashnin. The video review showed that there was contact with Juho Olkinuora earlier in the play and Metallurg was reprieved.
Earlier, the home team looked to be in control of the game. Vityaz took a needless bench minor after just 20 seconds, handing Metallurg the initiative from the start. The penalty came to nothing, but Andrei Chibisov showed great skills to steal the puck and snaffle the opener in the sixth minute. Early in the second, Chibisov turned provider with an assist as Josh Currie found a devastating shot from out on the boards to surprise Ilya Ezhov and make it 2-0.
Subsequently, though, Vityaz took the ascendency. Despite the loss of Alexander Yaremchuk through injury, the visitor pulled goal back thanks to Ojamaki and went on to enjoy the better of the third period. Metallurg had to dig deep — Vorobyov admitted his players threw all their energy into protecting the lead — but finished the day with another victory.
Kunlun suffered a Hallowe’en horror show as the Chinese club crashed to its heaviest ever KHL loss. For Avtomobilist, though, this was definitely a treat as two goals from Brooks Macek led the way to a scoreline that matches the biggest win in the league this season and sets a new mark as the club’s best ever in KHL play.
Macek opened the scoring midway through the first period when he batted home the rebound from a Jesse Blacker point shot. Late in the frame, Stephane Da Costa forced a turnover and doubled the lead. At that point, Red Star could feel hard done by: if Ryan Sproul’s effort early in the game had gone inside the post rather than against it, this might have been a different story.
However, two goals in the 30 seconds at the start of the third put the game beyond the visitor and, in the third, Avtomobilist ran riot. Patrice Cormier scored in the first minute. Macek got his second and debutant Yakov Rylov found the net 51 seconds later, then Sergei Shumakov completed the rout. Former Red Star goalie Dmitry Shikin enjoyed a shut-out against his former club.
Both teams were looking at this game to get back on track at the sharp end of the Eastern Conference. Traktor had suffered back-to-back losses here and was losing ground on leader Metallurg, while Ak Bars was beaten in Magnitogorsk last time out. The visitor made several changes to its team, most notably recalling talisman Danis Zaripov and defenseman Steven Kampfer. Traktor gave a start to former Ak Bars goalie Emil Garipov.
The home team wasted little time in asserting itself after returning from a recent road trip. Vitaly Abramov had the puck in the Ak Bars net after 68 seconds, scrapping away on the crease to open the scoring. The visiting bench challenged the call, citing interference on goalie Timur Bilyalov, but the claim was rejected and Traktor went on the power play. That brought a second goal, with Sergei Kalinin’s pass to the right-hand channel setting up Nikita Tertyshny’s wrister for 2-0.
With less than three minutes played, Ak Bars replaced Bilyalov with Igor Bobkov and went on to have the better of the rest of the opening frame. However, the visitor could not find a way past Garipov at the other end. That pattern continued in the second, with Ak Bars having more chances but Garipov having all the answers. And the sucker punch arrived in the 36th minute when Igor Isayev’s defense-splitting pass sent Vyacheslav Osnovin clean through to beat Bobkov and extend the home lead.
The visitor’s frustrations spilled over, and Dmitry Voronkov dropped the gloves to vent them on Kalinin — a contest that saw both binned for five minutes. They emerged into a final stanza that underlined Traktor’s control of the game. Lukas Sedlak added a fourth early in the session and Kirill Kapustin wrapped it up with five minutes to play.
Sochi climbed off the bottom of the Western Conference with a narrow victory over Torpedo. The visitor slipped to a third successive loss and remains three points outside the playoff zone.
For long periods there was little to choose between the two teams — and very little by way of goalscoring chances. In the first period the two goalies had just 12 saves to make between them, and in the middle stanza it dropped to eight as the teams were limited to four shots on goal apiece.
The deadlock was broken at last in the final stanza. Artyom Nikolayev made the breakthrough in the 48th minute, scoring from close range after good work from Kirill Petkov. And Nikolayev made the game safe with an empty net goal 90 seconds from the end. Home goalie Magnus Hellberg recorded his third shut-out of the season.