This was the third meeting of these Eastern Conference rivals in the space of little more than three weeks. Ak Bars snapped its losing streak when the teams last met in Kazan, but failed to build on that success in the Green Derby at home to Salavat Yulaev. There was an unexpected return to action for Dmitry Voronkov, who was still on the injured list on the morning of the game. He took Kirill Petrov’s place on the second line.
The first period was short of major incidents. Both these teams know each other well and that familiarity shaped the game. There was never much prospect of a high scoring encounter this time. As the home team, Metallurg tried to force the tempo and had a slight advantage over the course of the opening frame, but apart from a Pavel Akolzin shot against the piping there was little by way of jeopardy for either goaltender.
After the intermission, Ak Bars began to look like the stronger team. The visitor held the puck for longer and generated greater offensive menace. However, Yegor Korobkin managed to reverse that momentum when he got the opening goal for Magnitka. First, his willingness to chase lost causes earned Metallurg a power play. Then, after Ak Bars had survived the penalty, the home team’s momentum produced a goal, scored by none other than Korobkin himself with an absolute rocket of a shot.
After taking the lead, Metallurg took control of the game and really should have extended its lead. Denis Zernov’s line engineered two stonewall chances but could not add to the score.
In the third period, Kirill Adamchuk atoned for his earlier foul on Korobkin and cancelled out his opponent’s goal with a similarly powerful point shot. Shortly after, Ak Bars had the puck in Eddie Pasquale’s net for a second time, but Ilya Vorobyov appealed successfully for interference on his goalie and the scores remained level.
Penalties proved decisive. Metallurg stayed out of the box for the entire 60 minutes, while Ak Bars took its third penalty of the game late on. Nikita Korostelyov converted that chance and delivered his team a victory that tightens its grip on top spot in the East.
CSKA continued its winning run with a commanding victory over Traktor. Sergei Fedorov’s team reeled off its eighth consecutive success and youngster Vladimir Grudinin got his first goal in the KHL.
The 18-year-old struck in the 35th minute, establishing a 2-1 lead for the Muscovites after Traktor tied the scores earlier in the middle frame. The visitor failed to pick up the young defenseman between the hash marks, and he rifled home a feed from Konstantin Okulov to restore CSKA’s advantage.
Prior to that, CSKA grabbed an early lead thanks to Mikhail Grigorenko’s second-minute marker. That was the only scoring in the first period, and Traktor managed to tie things up early in the second. Alexei Kruchinin got that one in the 25th minute. However, Grudinin’s big moment changed the game.
After the youngster’s strike, it was plain sailing for the home team. Vladislav Kamenev soon added a third, taking him to five goals in six games. Then the final stanza saw further tallies from Takhir Mingachyov and Vladislav Provolnev to make the scoreline more comprehensive. Albert Yarullin got a late consolation goal for Traktor, but the final score brought an abrupt halt to the signs of improvement in Chelyabinsk.
CSKA, meanwhile, climbs to second in the Western Conference. Last season’s champion is level on points with Dynamo and both are two clear of Lokomotiv.
Lokomotiv is the only team defeat SKA in regulation time this season, and the Railwaymen gave the league leader another headache in this game. The home team seemed to be cruising when it led 3-1 at the second intermission, but the visitor hit back to tie the scores in the final frame. However, there would be no repeat of the outcome on October 13 as Dmitrij Jaskin grabbed a winner for SKA in the 55th minute.
The home team got off to a flying start when Marat Khairullin opened the scoring in the third minute. Since arriving in Petersburg, the former Neftekhimik forward has taken his production to a new level. This power play goal was his 13th of the season. He also has 10 assists for a total of 23 points in 22 games for his new club. Lokomotiv found an answer for that early marker, though. Maxim Beryozkin, 21, got his second of the season to tie things up in the 12th minute.
In the second period, SKA took control of the scoring. Igor Ozhiganov and Nikita Kamalov found the net, while Loko was unable to respond. However, the scoreboard did not tell the full story. The home team was indebted to goalie Alexander Samonov. He made 15 saves as the Railwaymen dominated much of the play. Indeed, the visitor spent more than seven minutes on the attack. That’s an astonishing amount of time to spend around SKA’s net for any team this season.
Loko’s efforts finally paid off in the third period. SKA made frequent visits to the penalty box, and Jaskin’s foul late in the second gave the Yaroslavl team a penalty that carried over into the third. Marat Khairullin followed his team-mate into the box after the intermission and although SKA held out with three skaters, Lokomotiv’s pressure brought a goal from Pavel Kraskovsky when the home team was back to four skaters.
A couple of minutes later, Andrei Sergeyev tied it up at 3-3 and SKA called a time-out. Roman Rotenberg needed to get his team back into the game and, apparently, he found the right words. The home side steadied, then got a power play chance of its own. The momentum shift was crucial; Loko’s PK did its job but back at full strength nobody could stop Jaskin from getting the winner. Lokomotiv battled hard to save the game once more, but ran out of time during its final surge. The Railwaymen fell to a second successive loss, and drop to fourth behind CSKA and Dynamo Moscow.
It wasn’t the most elegant play of the season, but Dmitry Rashevsky’s late power play goal was vital in this arm-wrestle of a game in Minsk. For 57 minutes, the teams were unable to beat goalies Alexei Kolosov and Konstantin Volkov. However, Dynamo’s young forward managed to stuff home the decisive goal just when overtime seemed almost inevitable.
Minsk’s problems began in the 56th minute. Ilya Kablukov came close to breaking the deadlock and, amid the battle on the slot, Sergei Sapego inadvertently caught Maxim Sushko in the face with his stick. Accidental or not, that meant a high sticking minor and Dynamo had its chance.
The winning goal followed a dangerous shot from Eric O’Dell, who fired in a wrister from the left-hand dot. Kolosov kept that one out, but then found himself in the midst of a scrum with at least five players buzzing around the paintwork looking to make a decisive intervention. Jordan Weal tried and failed, then the puck fell to Rashevsky who lifted it over the sprawling goaltender.
There were jeers from the home crowd, who believed their netminder had been impeded during the confusion. However, the Dinamo bench did not challenge the call and the goal stood.
Earlier in the game, Minsk’s best chance fell to Vladimir Alistrov, who hit the piping. Rashevsky went close for Dynamo in the third period, but Kolosov’s outstretched leg kept the scoreboard blank until that late winner.