Jori Lehtera’s late goal saved Spartak from defeat in regulation but it wasn’t enough to deny Severstal a seventh successive victory.
The Finn combined with Tim Heed and Jake Virtanen to fashion a chance that he converted at the back door to make it 2-2 on 57:13. That took the game to overtime — five cagey minutes that yielded not one shot on target as both teams looked towards a shoot-out — before the outcome was settled by Vladislav Kodola, who had two successful attempts on Oscar Dansk.
The teams played out a goalless first period with the visitor having more of the play but failing to find a way past Dmitry Shugayev. But the second stanza belonged to the host, with Adam Liska opening the scoring before visiting forward Alexander Nikishin was ejected from the game for kneeing. Severstal was unable to extend its lead during that major penalty, however.
Early in the third period, Dmitry Vishnevsky fired Spartak level, but it wasn’t long before Igor Geraskin restored Severstal’s advantage. That looked like it might be enough to extend the Steelmen’s six-game winning streak, until Lehtera changed the picture with two minutes left.
Torpedo, currently outside the playoff places, began a six-game home stand under a degree of pressure. David Nemirovsky’s roster looks to have all the necessary components to compete with the best this season, but so far results have been frustratingly inconsistent. In a recent interview, leading scorer Agostino described Torpedo as a ‘Robin Hood team’, taking points from the rich and giving them to the poor.
Lokomotiv counts as Western Conference aristocracy, which would naturally make it vulnerable to Torpedo’s redistribution of tournament points. And the visitor ultimately dropped a fourth defeat in five games here. Defenseman Theodor Lennstrom was the architect of Tuesday’s success, scoring two power play goals either side of an effort from the visitor’s Artyom Ilyenko. Damir Zhafyarov extended the Torpedo lead just after the midway point, but Mikhail Belyayev kept the game alive when he made it 3-2 shortly afterwards.
In the third period Lokomotiv tried to save the game but was unable to find a way past Andrei Tikhomirov in the home net. He stopped 14 shots in that final frame to backstop his team to an important victory — and possibly kickstart a much-needed winning streak for the Nizhny Novgorod club.
An injury-hit Metallurg ended SKA’s five-game winning streak with a shoot-out win in Petersburg. The visitor was without Nikolai Goldobin, Denis Zernov, Yaroslav Khabarov and Grigory Dronov but twice came from behind before winning the game in the extras.
SKA handed a debut to Alexander Volkov, the latest trans-Atlantic addition to the Petersburg roster. The 24-year-old was a depth player on the Lightning’s 2020 Stanley Cup-winning roster, but never quite established a role for himself in the NHL and opted to come back to Russia after being assigned to San Diego this season.
After a goalless first period, the former SKA junior picked up his first point in the KHL. His pass began a move that saw Nikita Gusev feed Andrei Kuzmenko on the post to give the home team a 23rd-minute lead. The visitor had reason to feel a little aggrieved: late in the first period Pavel Akolzin’s fine solo effort was whistled down for offside following a bench challenge and SKA now seemed poised to take full advantage. However, Magnitka tied the scores midway through the frame when Akolzin got a legitimate goal on the counter attack.
Both teams had chances to take a lead into the second intermission, but it wasn’t until the start of the third period that Kuzmenko potted his second of the game to restore the home advantage. Midway through the session, Juho Olkinuora had to be alert to deny first Gusev then Morozov as the home team looked to make the game safe. Instead, though, Metallurg went down the ice and responded with an equalizer when Nikita Korostelyov brought the puck into the center of the zone and fired around the defenseman to beat Lars Johansson. It was only the second shot of the frame from the visitor, but it was enough to take the game the full distance.
Overtime could not separate the teams, although Artyom Shvets-Rogovoi might have won it when the impressive Kuzmenko sent him through on Olkinuora’s net. And the Finnish goaltender went on to win every one of his duels in the shoot-out, while successful attempts from from Josh Currie and Korostelyov secured a win for table-topping Metallurg.
Dynamo Moscow went goal crazy in this clash with its Belarusian namesake, blowing away some of its recent indifferent form with an emphatic victory over one of the most improved teams of the current season. Both teams came into the game with just one win in the previous four, but while Minsk’s problems were caused in part by the long, gruelling trip to the Far East, Moscow was concerned about heavy losses against struggling Vityaz and Dinamo Riga.
The visitor found an immediate antidote to those Blues, though. Just eight seconds into the game, Dynamo went ahead. Slava Voynov released Anton Wedin down the right and he picked out Stanislav Galiyev for the opening goal on the first attack of the night. Eric O’Dell extended the lead inside five minutes and not even a reply from Minsk’s Artyom Demkov could change the balance of the game. The Muscovites went on to score twice more in the opening frame, with O’Dell assisting on an Alexander Petunin goal before Galiyev got his second of the evening.
Minsk had good reasons for its struggles: several players were taken ill on the eve of the game and Craig Woodcroft’s team lined up with just 14 skaters, playing in three lines. Shortbenched and overmatched in the first period, the head coach did what he could to change things in the second, bringing back-up goalie Patrik Rybar into the game in place of Alexei Kolosov.
Once again, though, Moscow grabbed an early goal. This time Galiyev was among the assists as Voynov made it 5-1. Midway through the middle frame, Ivan Didkovsky got his first goal in the KHL. The 19-year-old’s previous appearance came almost a year ago in a home win over Amur. O’Dell then scored his second of the game as the first power play goal arrived late in the second period.
In the third, the home team pulled a goal back with a power play tally of its own from Ilya Usov, but it was damage limitation time for the Bison. Usov got his second of the game late on to offer some consolation for the home fans.
Avtomobilist arrived in the capital lifted by an 8-0 thrashing of Kunlun Red Star, setting a club record victory in the KHL. Today, though, that goal touch dried up as Adam Reideborn stopped 23 shots to lift the Army Men to victory.
The only goal came in the first period. Sergei Plotnikov started the attack, setting up Konstantin Okulov for a dangerous effort that flashed wide of the target. Recycling the play, CSKA got the puck back to Plotnikov in a central position and this time he took on the shot himself to beat Dmitry Shikin.
Just as significant, CSKA limited Avtomobilist to just four attempts on goal in the opening stanza. After such a powerful offensive display last time out, the Motormen struggled to make an impression on the Army Men’s well-drilled rearguard.
As the game went on the visitor began to enjoy more of the opportunities. However, that did not translate into too many alarms for Reideborn & Co. Throughout the game, CSKA displayed disciplined defensive hockey and was rewarded with a win that takes it into the top four in the West.