Rusty lockout acquisition Pavel Datsyuk got off to a winning start with CSKA Moscow in the latest round of KHL games, which also saw Ak Bars Kazan maintain good early-season form to top the overall standings.
Detroit Red Wings forward Datsyuk, who signed with the Rosneft-backed club last Wednesday, had an apparently legitimate goal disallowed in his team's 1-0 victory over Avangard Omsk, last year's losing Gagarin Cup finalist.
He nodded the puck into the net, but it was ruled out on video referral, leaving his team defending a fragile 1-0 lead on Igor Radulov's goal.
“Frankly, I don’t know why my goal was disallowed. I played with neither my hand, nor a blade,” the two-time Stanley Cup winner said after Monday's game. “I had a dream [to score a header] and it came true, but the goal was disallowed.”
The 34 year old confessed that it was a very difficult game for him and he needed some time to adapt.
“For me everything went wrong today: It was stuffy, slow, the ice and the stick were different and the puck was square.”
Nevertheless, CSKA is in good shape, second in the Western Conference with six wins and three defeats in its opening nine games.
For Avangard it was a fifth-straight defeat, leaving the Siberians languishing in 10th place in the East.
Surprise leader Lev Prague stayed top of the Western Conference after a confident 4-0 win over Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk, with Canada's former Minnesota Wild center Erik Christensen netting a hat trick.
KHL newcomer Slovan Bratislava gained its fourth consecutive victory beating Barys Astana 4-2, with Winnipeg Jets forward Nikolai Antropov hitting his first for the Kazakh team. Slovan sit a point behind CSKA in third place in the West.
In the East, meanwhile, the leader of the league Ak Bars Kazan grabbed its fourth consecutive victory to remain top of the overall standards with a 6-1 victory over Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg.
Sibir Novosibirsk broke its own KHL record with the sixth-straight win, defeating Severstal Cherepovets 3-0 to stay just a single point behind Ak Bars.
And the locked out NHL trio of Metallurg Magnitogorsk were telling in a 7-2 demolition of Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk. Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nikolai Kulemin scored his first goal for Magnitogorsk, while Evgeni Malkin got three assists and Sergei Gonchar added one more.
In Monday's other games, three short-handed goals helped Traktor Chelyabinsk take three points in Ufa, crushing local Salavat Yulaev 4-1.
Dynamo Minsk, in search of an NHL goaltender, now boasts the leakiest defense in the league after a 5-4 defeat to Metallurg Novokuznetsk.
And Amur Khabarovsk moved to the fifth place in the Eastern Conference after taking down Vityaz Chekhov 3-2.