Нижний Новгород (17:00)
Jokerit Helsinki 3 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 2
Jokerit climbs to sixth in the West after a strong third-period performance halted Metallurg’s winning run.
Jesper Jensen was the hero for the Finns, scoring in the 48th and 51st minutes to turn the game around and give his team a lead that proved decisive.
First he got the crucial touch on Tommi Huhtala’s shot from the blue line, then he squeezed home a shot from an impossibly tight angle out on the boards to make it 3-2. The Metallurg bench challenged that goal, but the officials gave it the OK. The home team thought it had a fourth soon after, but the puck hit the net some time after a whistle for a high stick, giving Magnitka the chance to launch a big, but ultimately unsuccessful push for an equalizer.
If Jensen’s first two goals of the season added some flavor to this encounter, the victory must have been especially sweet for goalie Riku Helenius. Barely one minute after Jesse Joensuu had tied the game, cancelling out Sergei Moyzakin’s early opener, the netminder’s blunder behind his own piping presented Ilya Berestennikov with a goal that reinstated Magnitka’s lead.
But Jensen’s shooting turned it around to give Jokerit a vital win in the playoff race.
Ak Bars Kazan 5 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 0
Life without suspended head coach Peteris Skudra clearly didn’t suit Torpedo as it travelled to Tatarstan.
An already difficult assignment at the Eastern Conference high-flyer wasn’t helped by the coach’s two-game ban following his ejection during a home defeat to Dinamo Minsk, and things got much worse in a 12-minute spell that saw five unanswered goals in Ivan Kasutin’s net.
Justin Azevedo opened the scoring – and the floodgates – in the last minute of the first period, and Kasutin’s day quickly got worse. Andrei Popov and Anton Glinkin scored early in the middle stanza before Azevedo assisted on a Jiri Sekac goal on 31:14. Sixteen seconds later, Mikhail Glukhov made it 5-0 and the goalie was called to the bench.
Ilya Proskuryakov came in to see out the rest of the game without incident, but there was no way back for Torpedo. Ak Bars’ goalie Emil Garipov had a happier time, stopping 28 shots for his shut-out as his team moved to within one point of Eastern Conference leader Metallurg.
Around the league
Neftekhimik’s five-game winning streak was halted by two goals in the last 10 minutes as Spartak claimed a 4-3 verdict. Artyom Voronin tied the game in the 51st minute, cancelling out Pavel Kulikov’s strike, before Igor Mirnov’s second of the night won it in the 55th. The game also had a lively start. Pavel Poryadin gave Neftekhimik a second-minute lead, only for Voronin to equalize, but Bogdan Yakimov made it 2-1 in the sixth minute. After a long lull, Mirnov made it 2-2 in the 49th minute to spark a late flurry of scoring that sent the home team to defeat in the absence of suspended head coach Andrei Nazarov.
Dinamo Minsk also saw a five-game streak halted with a 0-2 reverse at home to Traktor. Pavel Francouz had 34 saves for his shut-out while Alexander Chernikov and Alexei Kruchinin both scored for the second game running to give the visitor the verdict. Dinamo missed the chance to overtake Lokomotiv into fourth place in the West; Traktor consolidates fifth place in the East.
Three points from Nikita Filatov helped Lada to a 4-2 home win against HC Sochi. Maxim Rybin opened the scoring for the host in the 18th minute, and 17 seconds later Filatov got his first of the night. Igor Ignatushkin reduced the arrears with a power play goal midway through the second period but Filatov assisted on Viktor Komarov’s goal to make it 3-1. Ivan Zakharchuk made it a one-goal game going into the third stanza before Filatov’s empty-net goal secured the Lada’s first win in eight.