The KHL returned to action this week, following the international break, with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl snapping SKA St. Petersburg’s incredible 122-game scoring streak on Thursday.
The Western Conference leaders, led by former Atlanta and New Jersey star Ilya Kovalchuk, have scored a stunning 96 goals in just 26 games so far this season as they look to build on their 2013 Continental Cup success.
Lokomotiv on the other hand currently sit outside of the play-off spots; but a 27-save effort from former Colorado Avalanche stopper Vitaly Kolesnik, combined with the 3rd period goals from Emil Galimov and an empty net marker from Sergei Plotnikov, was enough to seal victory against the league leaders, who slipped to their fifth loss of the season.
Eastern Conference leaders AK Bars also suffered defeat in their return to the ice on Wednesday, with Konstantin Sokolov’s 51st minute goal giving KHL new boys Admiral Vladivostok victory. Admiral eased past Torpedo on Friday, recording a 5-0 victory, and will host defending Gagarin Cup holders Dynamo Moscow at the Fetisov Arena on Sunday . The East coast side, built from scratch in the summer, will be hoping to build on its 9-9-4 (W-L-OT/SOL) record as they bid to capture a post season berth in their inaugural campaign.
Dynamo on the other hand will be looking to gain ground on SKA. Alexander Ovechkin’s former team beat last placed Metallurg Novokuznetsk 4-3 in overtime on Friday, as they bounced back from a 1-0 loss against Sibir, who also beat HC Vityaz this week.
Mike Keenan’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk kept the pressure on AK Bars and Barys at the top of the East, defeating Dynamo Minsk and HC Donbass as their rivals stumbled. AK Bars loss to Admiral was compounded by Friday’s defeat in Khabarovsk against HC Amur, while Barys were topped in the shoot out by Dinamo Riga on Wednesday before being shut out by CSKA Moscow.
Metallurg’s Danis Zarpov, who joined from AK Bars in the summer, continues to lead the KHL scoring with 20 goals and 38 points. Club Captain Sergei Mozyakin is second in scoring, with 16 goals and 38 points, with the Yaroslavl native and Zarpov having a hand in half of the Kharlamov Division sides 77 goals.
Finnish netminder Mikko Koskinen leads all goaltending in save percentage and goals against average, helping Sibir to 4th place in the East.
This weekend, SKA travel to Atlant while Lokomotiv host Severstal on Saturday. Dynamo Moscow’s clash with Admiral is perhaps the highlight of Sundays 12 games, which also sees AK Bars welcoming Sibir to the TatNeft Arena, Avtomobilist in Moscow to play CSKA and Avangard on the road, as they visit the Czech Republic to take on HC Lev Praha.
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