Thursday, February 16, 2017
Avtomobilist v Avangard 2-3 SO
The home team’s hopes of reaching the playoffs came to an end after letting a 2-0 lead slip in this one. Nothing less than three points would do for Vladimir Krikunov’s men and at first it seemed that a vital victory was on the cards. Avangard’s Ilya Zubov was ejected from the game in the second minute for boarding, and Avto took advantage of that major penalty to score twice in 67 seconds. Petr Koukal forced home the first following Nikolai Timashov’s shot, then Alexei Vasilevsky made it two before the fourth minute was up. But Avangard hit back. Alexander Perezhogin got away from Michal Cajkovsky to reduce the deficit in the second period and Pyotr Khokhryakov tied it up in the 54th minute. Overtime could not produce a winner but Nikolai Lemtyugov bossed the shoot-out, scoring twice to give the visitor the win.
Barys v Metallurg Novokuznetsk 2-3 OT
Barys bagged the point it needed to guarantee fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but allowed Metallurg to fight back for an unlikely win. It seemed that the host was heading for a routine victory after Brendan Shinnimin and Roman Savchenko scored two goals in the space of a minute late in the second period. But Kuznya hit back with an even quicker double strike midway through the final session. Just six seconds separated Timur Fatkullin’s goal from Evgeny Solovyov’s equalizer as the visitor took maximum advantage of a 5-on-3 power play. Alexander Komaristy then gave the KHL’s bottom team its 13th victory of the season with an overtime goal. The result confirms the first playoff pair of the season. Barys will face Traktor in the first round, with the series beginning in Chelyabinsk on Feb 22.
Ugra v Sibir 3-2 OT
Two goals for Adam Polasek could not save Sibir from a damaging defeat that leaves its playoff prospects in the balance. Although Ugra had little to play for in this game, the home time recovered from Polasek’s sixth-minute opener to tie the game through Andrei Alexeyev’s power play goal midway through the first period. Another power play early in the second led to Evgeny Lapenkov putting Ugra in front, and Sibir’s chances of making it into the top eight were hanging in the balance. Polasek revived that dream when he made it 2-2 with two-and-a-half minutes left, yet another PP goal, but there was more trouble heading Sibir’s way. Alexei Glukhov picked up a 5+Game penalty deep in regulation after apparently kicking away Lapenkov’s legs long after the puck was gone. That decision left Sibir short-handed in overtime, and Lapenkov recovered to assist on Alexeyev’s game-winner. Sibir’s failure to win here was good news for Salavat Yulaev, which is guaranteed a playoff place regardless of Saturday’s result against Lada. The Siberians, though, must now win at Avtomobilist and hope that Admiral or Kunlun slip up on the final day.
Vityaz v Amur 2-3 SO
Amur clawed back a two-goal deficit to beat Vityaz thanks to Tomas Zohorna’s decisive effort in the shoot-out. Earlier the home team, still celebrating its first-ever KHL playoff spot, took the lead through Pavel Lukin in the 26th minute. Mikhail Yepishin doubled that advantage late in the second period, but Amur wasn’t done. The visitor scored two goals in 26 seconds to tie the game in the third session. Vyacheslav Litovchenko reduced the arrears before Vitaly Atyushov levelled the scores.
Minsk v Neftekhimik 2-1 SO
Neftekhimik needed to take three points from this game to prolong its push for a playoff place, but ended up leaving with just one. Fredrick Pettersson was the man who did the damage, putting Dinamo ahead in the 18th minute and returning to finish the job in the shoot-out. Richard Gynge, another Swede, forced overtime with his last-minute tying goal and then scored his attempt in the shoot-out, but it wasn’t enough to keep Neftekhimik in contention for the top eight.
Lokomotiv v Kunlun 4-2
It’s going to be an anxious end to Kunlun’s first KHL season, with the Chinese team’s playoff fate now destined to be determined in its final game. Victory in Yaroslavl would have been enough to bring Red Star a post-season place at the first attempt, but with the home team seeking to secure a seeded position in the West, Kunlun was always under pressure. The opening exchanges set the tone: Daniil Apalkov scored a fine goal to give Loko the lead, then a comedy of defensive errors gave Yegor Averin the simplest of tasks to make it 2-0 inside 10 minutes. Max Warn’s power play goal before the intermission offered some hope for the visitor, but second-period markers from Alexander Kadeikin and Brandon Kozun put the game out of reach. Red Star rallied bravely in the final stanza, reducing the deficit early on with a short-handed goal from Chad Rau, but there was no way back. Lokomotiv is now guaranteed a top-four finish in the West, but Kunlun travels to Dynamo Moscow on Saturday needing to make sure it stays ahead of Sibir or Admiral to reach the playoffs.
Friday, February 17, 2017Metallurg Novokuznetsk v Traktor 1-0 SO
The stage was set for Sergei Mozyakin to round off the regular season with his 1,000th career point … but Traktor proved an obdurate opponent until Chris Lee grabbed a shoot-out winner. Moyzakin’s goal in Wednesday’s 1-2 reverse in Chelyabinsk put him within a single point of a record-breaking landmark, but the master marksman was unable to complete his millennium before the playoffs got underway. It wasn’t for lack of trying. From the early stages, when his defense-splitting diagonal pass picked out Viktor Antipin in a dangerous position, to the testing one-timer that Vasily Demchenko blocked late in the third period, Mozyakin was a livewire presence on offense for Magnitka. In total, he had six attempts on target and several other efforts blocked by the hard-working Traktor defense. But the visitor held out, with Demchenko making 30 saves in regulation to keep the scoresheet blank as the game went into overtime. At the other end, Ilya Samsonov also had work to do in a hard-fought local derby, making 28 saves in regulation before coming up big to deny Kirill Koltsov and Maxim Yakutsenya as Traktor got a power play in overtime. And the young Magnitka goalie was also on his game in the shoot-out, denying Alexei Kruchinin and Derek Roy as Chris Lee scored the decisive effort. Both teams have completed their regular seasons and will advance to the playoffs. Metallurg tops the Eastern Conference table with 124 points and will wait to learn which of Kunlun Red Star, Admiral or Sibir will come to Magnitogorsk next week. Traktor comes fourth with 97 points, and begins its playoff campaign at home to Barys.
Saturday, February 18, 2017Avtomobilist v Sibir 1-2 SO
Sibir came into Saturday’s game needing a win and a slice of luck. Three points in Yekaterinburg would have lifted the team above Kunlun and Admiral, with the Far Eastern teams playing later in the day and facing the added pressure of coming from behind to secure a playoff place. For a time, it looked like Andrei Skabelka’s team would deliver. Avtomobilist had nothing to play for, and after a competitive start to the game Sibir got in front in the 35th minute when Yegor Milovzorov fired the rebound into the net after Vladimir Sokhatsky came a long way from his net to make a save. As it stood, that goal was enough to put Kunlun and Admiral in jeopardy. But a one-goal advantage is always precarious, and Sibir suffered when Anatoly Golyshev tied the game in the 48th minute. There was no further scoring in regulation, and as the game went into overtime Sibir already knew its playoff dream was over. That did not stop the visitor from claiming the victory, Stepan Sannikov was the only scorer in the shoot-out, but two points were not enough to sneak into the top eight.
Barys v Avangard 1-3
Two goals from Ilya Mikheyev saw Avangard wrap up its regular season with a win at Barys. Both teams had confirmed the finishing positions in the Eastern Conference prior to Saturday’s game, and it was second-placed Avangard that had the better of this meeting. Mikheyev got his first on eight minutes and added another on the power play in the 34th. In between, Ilya Zubov also scored for the visitor. Barys replied in the third through Roman Starchenko’s power play goal, but the fifth-placed team did not threaten to get back into the game.
Ufa v Lada 4-2
The clouds that shrouded Salavat Yulaev for much of 2017 are lifting, and the Ufa team has a mouth-watering match-up to start its playoff campaign.
Victory at home to Lada secured sixth place for Igor Zakharkin’s team and that means a series against third-placed Ak Bars and a reprise of the ‘Green Derby’ between two of the KHL’s biggest rivals. Salavat had to come from behind to win this one. Lada took an 11th-minute lead through Denis Zernov, and went ahead for a second time when Stanislav Bocharov scored midway through the second period. Sami Lepisto’s power play goal separated the visitors’ markers.
But the second half of the game was all about the host. Maxim Mayorov tied the scores in the 35th minute and the final stanza saw Stanislav Gareyev make it 3-2. With 15 minutes left, Salavat was ahead for the first time, and an empty-net goal for Denis Kulyash finished the job.
Ugra v Metallurg Novokuznetsk 1-4
Bottom club Metallurg signed off with an emphatic win to end a forgettable season. Stanislav Kalashnikov opened the scoring on the power play after 12 minutes, rifling home his first of the season. The second period saw three unanswered goals for the visitor, with Igor Skorokhodov, Kirill Semyonov and Nikita Yazkov finding the net. Evgeny Kulik replied in the third, claiming his first of the campaign with less than three minutes to go for the season, but Ugra ended on a disappointing note.Severstal v Sochi 3-2
Both clubs were out of the playoff picture before today’s game, but Severstal at least enjoyed a victory to finish its season. Three goals in eight minutes either side of the second intermission were enough to turn this game around for the host after Eric O’Dell gave Sochi the lead on eight minutes. Daniil Vovchenko tied it up late in the second period before Ruslan Karlin and Nikolai Stasenko made it 3-1 by the 48th minute. Ilya Krikunov pulled one back in the closing stages.Vityaz v Admiral 1-3
Admiral learned that its voyage would continue when news came through that Sibir had failed to get the regulation win it needed earlier in the day. But the Sailors still had the opportunity of taking seventh place in the East and avoiding a daunting start to the playoffs against Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Two goals from Andrei Sigaryov enabled the Far East team to do just that, pacing a 3-1 victory that sends Admiral to Avangard next week. Vityaz, which will play its first ever KHL playoff series against SKA, took the lead through Alexander Pankov early in the second period. But Admiral equalized through Samvel Mnatsyan just after the half-hour and Sigaryov’s double strike early in the third settled the outcome. The score from Kunlun’s game at Dynamo confirmed a seventh-place finish.
Lokomotiv v Amur 3-5
Lokomotiv missed out on third place in the West, and now faces a playoff series against Dinamo Minsk after defeat in its final game of the regular season. For Amur, meanwhile, another disappointing season ends with some cause for optimism after four wins in its last five games. The decisive moment here came in the 45th minute, when Pavel Dedunov and Alexei Byvaltsev scored two goals in 32 seconds to put Amur 4-3 ahead. For Byvaltsev it was the second of the game: he opened the scoring in the 18th minute, but after Max Talbot equalized Loko led twice through Alexander Polunin and Alexander Kadeikin. That wasn’t enough for the home team, though, and Vyacheslav Litovchenko sealed a victory for Amur with a 50th-minute goal.