Ak Bars clinch playoff berth

Ak Bars clinch playoff berth

15 Jan 2014 | Alan Ilijic

With the win today beating Severstal on the road, Ak Bars of Kazan clinch the playoff berth as the second KHL team to do so this season, following the current champions Dynamo Moscow. Dynamo lose in the Super Derby in Saint Petersburg to 2nd seeded SKA.


Russia was all about SKA and Dynamo today. The Earth stopped still as soon the referees dropped the puck for the opening faceoff and a hockey-fest in Saint Petersburg featuring SKA and Dynamo Moscow.

Dynamo started the game without their injured netminder Alexander Yeryomenko and Olegs Znaroks decided to give a chance to Alexander Sharychenkov. Prior to the game he had had 5 starts and 4 wins out if it, had faced 104 shots, and kept the record high at 92.3 SVS% and allowed only 1.97 goals on average.

Notwithstanding the good stats so far in the season, SKA were able to break through him five times before Znaroks decided to bring in a pair of fresh legs between the pipes in the means of Alexander Lazushin, though it was too late to change anything.

SKA started out strong and found themselves in a complacent lead by two goals, soothing the fans gathered in sold-out Ice Palace. Tony Martensson opened the scoring at 10:42 on the powerplay and Roman Cervenka doubled at 17:16. Martensson recording the assist on the play.

Dynamo showed signs of convalescence as Denis Mosalyov scores three and a half minutes into the second frame, but from that point on, it was all SKA. Roman Cervenka scores his second in a row at 28:02 and Tony Martensson adds his second of the night at 31:58, both on the powerplay.

Vadim Shipachyov inflicts humiliation on the home goalie as he strikes another one on a solo effort merely half a minute later, at 32:14, forcing him to get to the bench and leaves the crease to Lazushin.

Lazushin came out strong, didn't let a goal in, but there was nothing to be saved. Dynamo scored twice during the final 20 minutes through Leo Komarov and Alexei Tsvetkov, but Ilya Kovalchuk sealed the deal with an empty-netter at 59:54, the exact same time as two days ago versus Ak Bars, and set the final score 6:3. Kovalchuk is now on a two empty-net goals streak in two games.

Ilya Ezhov was able to ricochet 24 shots standing at 88.89%, while Tony Martensson was 100% accurate, scoring twice on two shots.

Ak Bars clinch the playoffs

After Dynamo Moscow secured the playoff spot, Ak Bars were able to pull it off today. Three consecutive losses for Bars deprived them from leadership in the East, but they were well aware how many points they can earn today. Enough to secure the playoff berth and get atop the Eastern Conference standings.

Severstal still seek their place in the sun. Trying to catch Lokomotiv and get the playoff spot, they are still 11 points shy, and had their chance today when Lokomotiv lost to Torpedo at home, though couldn't grasp it. But they proved tough, they did provide fierce resistance to their visitors.

After a goalless first twenty, Evgeny Kovyrshin opened the scoring for the home side at 21:03 on the powerplay, Stepan Zakharchuk's major for checking to the head.

Severstal returned the favor through Alexander Yevseyenkov who was called to a major for kicking and got a game misconduct. Alexander Burmistrov and Shaun Heshka set the thing up for Mikhail Varnakov who scored at 25:15 to level the score on the powerplay.

Bars were able to pull it off before the end of regulation when Janne Pesonen finished the play from Alexei Tereshchenko and Alexander Osipov, beating Jakub Stepanek and securing the visitors the KHL playoffs.

Bars is now again on the top of the East with a point over Barys but also a game more. Barys meet Medvescak tomorrow and get the chance to get back up.

In other rinks

A lot has happened today in the KHL playoffs-wise. Lokomotiv and Atlant played crucial games to get the spot, or at least in the perimeter. And their success was  very much different.

Atlant were able to pull off a win in Podolsk 2:1, thus following Lokomotiv's 4:1 loss at home versus Torpedo got the chance to get as near as it gets to the final playoff spot. With the newly acquired three points they are now only 4 points short of Lokomotiv in #8 of the West. They've played both head-to-head games this season, so it will be interesting until the very end.

Maxim Mayorov scores the game-winner at 37:40 for Atlant doubling Sergei Shemelyov's opener in the first period at 7:41.

In Yaroslavl everything was clear from early on. Midway through the first Maxim Potapov opened the scoring, Vladimir Denisov snapped the game-winner at 22:29, and Wojtek Wolski and Maxim Potapov finished the job for the visiting side. Daniil Apalkov got the lone tally for the Railwaymen at 29:47.

CSKA won in Moscow against Sibir after the shootout through Alexander Radulov scoring the game-winning goal. After regulation the score was tied at 2, Prokhorkin and Radulov still work efficiently as the latter was on the assist to give the young Russian the opener.

In Riga, the hosts were looking for an easy win over heavily struggling Metallurg Novokuznetsk. They got all but an easy win. It was tied at 3 in regulation, Paul Szczechura brings the winner 18 seconds into overtime. Evgeny Lapenkov and Gunas Skvocovs scored each a pair on both sides.

Admiral Vladivostok played a very important game in their playoff run today in Prague, but all their hopes to get into the playoff range shed away. Martin Thornberg opened the scoring for the Czechs early in the first, though Felix Schutz tied it at 14:25. David Ullstrom gets the game-winner in the second, while Michal Repik and Justin Azevedo finished what the Lions started.

Slovan were up twice before the end of the second period, but the visitors kept coming out strong. Andrej Stastny opened the scoring at 23:48, merely a minute later Dmitry Tarasov levels. Martin Bakos gets Slovan up a goal again, but Ilya Krikunov wouldn't agree and ties before the second frame was over. In the end Libor Hudacek gets the win for the Slovaks midway through the third. With this win and losses from Lokomotiv and Severestal, Slovan is back in playoff range as they're ten points away from the eight place, with 10 games left.

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