It didn’t take long for Dynamo to avenge its 0-3 loss in Niznhny Novgorod. Just four days after that game, the teams met again and this time the Blue-and-Whites came out on top. In between their head-to-head clashes, both teams suffered defeats. However, Dynamo had far more cause for satisfaction in a shoot-out loss to SKA than Torpedo could take from a 0-2 reverse in Yaroslavl.
The home team made the more active start, but had to wait until late in the first period before opening the scoring. Eric O’Dell and Dmitry Rashevsky put the Torpedo defense in a spin and after Ivan Kulbakov made one big save, Kirill Gotovets joined the attack to break the deadlock.
Defensive colleague Yegor Martynov, who was a Torpedo player last season, helped to double the lead in the second period when his point shot was redirected into the net by Jordan Weal. The visitor responded with two goals from its special teams. First, Alexei Kruchinin converted a power play. Then he set up Sergei Goncharuk’s shorthanded tying goal.
After allowing a goal on its power play, Dynamo woke up to score on the same PP. Maxim Dzhioshvili got the goal, with a redirect similar to Weal’s. Just before the buzzer, Dzhioshvili was close to his second of the night. Moments later, Ilya Konovalov denied Nikolai Kovalenko a tying goal with a great save.
In the third period, Torpedo continued to trust its professorial game plan, carefully building its offense rather than playing run-and-gun hockey. On this occasion, though, Dynamo had the measure of Igor Larionov’s tactics. Not even a late power play could save the visitor: Torpedo deployed an extra skater, but was caught by an empty net goal from Dzhioshvili.
The Avtomobilist offense has lost some of its sparkle in recent games. Despite the return of Stephane Da Costa from injury, the absence of Curtis Valk and Sergei Shirokov is keenly felt. Today the forward line was boosted by Patrice Cormier’s return from suspension for the visit of Admiral.
Throughout the season, the Sailors have provided gritty, hard-working opposition for all-comers and the opening stages here were no exception. Chances were hard to come by for both teams, with Admiral putting in the hard yards to subdue a more illustrious opponent. That effort got its reward midway through the session when the visitor opened the scoring. Avto’s fourth line was too passive on defense and paid the price when Alexander Shevchenko beat Johan Mattsson.
At the start of the second period, ill-discipline crept into Admiral’s game and Avtomobilist got a 5-on-3 power play. That saw Brooks Macek tie the game with a shot that Alexander Lazushin could only dig out from beyond his goal line. However, Admiral’s PP also had its say and a well-worked play gifted Nikolajs Jelisejevs an open net to restore the lead. Another 5-on-3 chance for Avto went begging late in the frame.
Early in the third, Avtomobilist came close to tying the game again. After that, though, Admiral was able to close out the game effectively, limiting the host to a handful of opportunities that Lazushin dealt with comfortably, even when his team was again reduced to three skaters.
This was a big game for both teams as they look to get into the playoff places. That meant changes on both rosters, and the most striking was Nikita Tertyshny scratched from Traktor’s line-up.
Without a leading attacking talent, the game was not blessed with goals. Traktor showed plenty of intent in the first period, but 15 saves from Janis Kalnins kept the scoreboard blank. Even the fight between Viktor Baldayev and Yegor Fateyev ended in a tie.
Play was still fairly even in the second period, but Traktor managed to find a goal thanks to Maxim Shabanov’s individual skill. That came midway through the game, and proved to be decisive.
In the third period, the teams played some energetic hockey. Amur, in particular, wanted it fast and frantic as it looked to get back into the game. However, Traktor was gradually able to draw the sting from the action and close out the win. Penalties were the greatest threat to the host, but even a spell of 6-on-3 power play for Amur could not change the final outcome. Ilya Proskuryakov wrapped off a great day’s work with a super save in the final seconds and Traktor claimed a win by the narrowest of margins.
These are difficult times in Kazan, with much-titled head coach Oleg Znarok feeling the pressure amid indifferent form. Difficult times call for eye-catching measures, and today Ak Bars played without Alexander Radulov, the highest-profile signing of a headline grabbing summer in Tatarstan.
In a different context, dropping a stellar forward for a local derby has proved disastrous for struggling coaches. After three minutes of this game, Znarok’s gambit looked to be in all sorts of trouble here. Neftekhimik, outsider in this Tatar challenge, jumped to a 2-0 lead on goals from Evgeny Kashnikov and Anthony Camara.
Without the talismanic Radulov, and with Vadim Shipachyov’s form provoking intense speculation, Ak Bars needed inspiration from elsewhere. It arrived with two goals just after the midway point in the first period. Kirill Adamchuk pulled one back, then Nikita Yevseyev tied the scores. Neither player is noted as a key component of Kazan’s goal threat, but they dug their team out of a deep hole here.
Defenseman Adamchuk usually plays second fiddle to Slava Voynov when it comes to two-way work. In the 29th minute, Voynov reminded everyone of his attacking prowess when he fired Ak Bars in front for the first time. Even so, the game was far from done. Neftekhimik hung around and withstood some heavy pressure. Late in the middle frame, the visitor got a big power play when Kirill Semyonov was ejected for slashing. However, early in the third, Mikhail Nazarov following him to the locker room after a game penalty of his own.
The outcome was still on a knife edge. Ak Bars was creating more chances, but Yaroslav Ozolin kept the home team at bay and ensured that home nerves continued to jangle until the 56th minute. Then Yevseyev got his second of the game to give Kazan some much-needed breathing space. A last-minute strike from Ilya Safonov made the final scoreline more comfortable. Ak Bars will take the win after losing five of its last six, but Znarok will surely not be lulled by a final score that felt harsh on Neftekhimik.
When Kunlun won 4-0 in Omsk, it spelled the end for Dmitry Ryabykin behind the Hawks’ bench. Today, Avangard avenged that loss. However, the game was less comfortable than the score might suggest. It took two empty net goals to subdue the Dragons at last after a rousing battle in Mytishchi.
Blanked on home ice, Avangard had a point to prove. Alexander Dergachyov opened the scoring with an eighth-minute goal and the visitor hoped it could easily restore the traditional balance of power between these teams. However, Red Star is a more resilient foe this season. Tyler Wong, in only his second game back from injury, tied it up on 12:41.
Avangard regained its lead soon after that, but could not put the game to bed. Alexei Murygin, continuing in the home net after backstopping a win on his debut, proved tough to beat even as the Hawks had the better of the play. And, late in the second period, in-form Jack Rodewald tied the scores going into the final stanza.
When defenseman Anton Belov stepped up to make it 3-2 for Avangard early in the third, Mikhail Kravets must have hoped his team had finally quashed Kunlun’s resistance. However, the Chinese franchise continued to battle and it remained a one-goal game deep into the final minutes. Murygin went to the bench on 58:11 and Red Star scented a tying goal. Instead, though, Reid Boucher grabbed an empty-netter and Vladimir Bryukvin repeated the trick to give the final score a lopsided look.
CSKA’s winning run continues after the defending champion made short work of the league’s basement dweller. Sochi, which showed promise despite losing its first game under head coach Sergei Svetlov, was unable to cope with the Muscovites in rampant form and the final margin was painful for the home team.
It began with two goals in the 13th minute. Vitaly Abramov opened the scoring, then Danil Yurtaikin doubled the lead 49 seconds later. Sochi was struggling to keep up with the shot count and gave up a notable territorial advantage. To the home team’s credit, though, it kept the score to 2-0 until late in the second period. Then Vladislav Kamenev added a third, with young Artyom Duda collecting an assist.
By now, the game was done. CSKA finished the job with three unanswered goals in the third. Andrei Svetlakov quickly extended the lead, before Maxim Mamin added a fifth. To sum up the Leopards’ day, a late power play brought not a consolation effort but a short-handed marker from Kamenev to wrap up an emphatic victory.
This clash was action-packed from start to finish, but Spartak’s brave fightback could not halt the league leader’s winning streak. The Red-and-Whites rallied from 1-3 and 2-4 to tie the game by the end of the second period. However, Damir Zhafyarov restored SKA’s lead and Evgeny Ketov wrapped it up late in the game.
It wasn’t easy to envision that finish at the end of a first period that saw clinical SKA finishing dictate the game. Marat Khairullin opened the scoring for the visitor and, despite Danila Kvartalnov’s equalizer, SKA did not look back. Dmitrij Jaskin wasted little time converting a power play to restore the visitor’s lead, then Alexander Nikishin put a third in the net of his former club to give his new employer a commanding advantage.
However, Spartak was nothing if not plucky. Matvei Zaseda pulled goal back early in the second and changed the pattern of play. Even though Mikhail Pashnin finished off a Khairullin pass to restore the two-goal lead, the home team was on the up. The shots rained in on Dmitry Nikolayev in the SKA net and, late in the session, they found their target. Zaseda’s second of the game made it close, then Ilya Talaluyev tied it up before the intermission.
Under pressure, SKA responded by replacing Nikolayev with Alexander Samonov. The visitor gradually reasserted itself on offense as well and regained the lead in the 47th minute when Khairullin’s feed from behind the net bounced into the path of Zhafyarov to make it 5-4. Spartak continued to press, but failed to convert a power play midway through the third and ultimately ran out of time to save the game. Ketov’s late strike sealed the win for SKA.