MOSCOW, January 23 (R-Sport) - SKA St. Petersburg has grabbed a 2-1 road win at Dynamo Moscow to consolidate its position at the top of the KHL's Western Conference.
SKA gained revenge on Dynamo on Tuesday for a home defeat Saturday and is now seven points ahead of the Gagarin Cup winner with seven games to go in the regular season.
The team's two recent fixtures were originally to be played at New York's Barclays Center, but that arrangement was canceled due to the NHL lockout.
“It is funny that we played better than Dynamo in St. Petersburg but lost that game,” SKA coach Jukka Jalonen said after the Tuesday’s game. “And today it was vice versa: Dynamo played in more interesting hockey, but SKA won. Things like that happen in hockey.”
Igor Makarov put SKA in the lead on 13 minutes, converting a perfectly-weighed pass by Viktor Tikhonov on the power play.
Less than a minute later, former Tampa Bay Lightning wing Evgeny Artyukhin, now at SKA, got a game penalty for a hard hit on Finnish defenseman Janne Jalasvaara, who missed the rest of the game with an eye injury.
Dynamo failed to use the five-minute advantage from the penalty and went 2-0 down when ex-Buffalo Sabres defenseman Dmitri Kalinin doubled SKA's lead late in the second period.
Dynamo continued the pressure in the third period, pulling the goaltender five minutes before the buzzer, but only managed one consolation goal through Konstantin Kasyanchuk.
“I can’t reproach my players, they were fighting till the end but there are still things to improve,” Dynamo coach Oleg Znarok said. “Speaking of Jalasvaara, it’s complicated - his eyeball is damaged. Tomorrow, we’ll have doctors’ verdict.”
Elsewhere in the West, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl gained a 2-1 away win at Dinamo Riga on penalty shots.
Lokomotiv remains second, while the 12th-placed Latvians have only slim chances of qualifying for the playoffs after a fourth consecutive defeat.
The match saw no goals until the third period, when Lokomotiv center Alexey Kruchinin scored a rebound goal before Miks Indrasis struck from behind the net with a scooped shot.
Yuri Petrov converted his post-game penalty shot to give Lokomotiv the victory.
KHL newcomer Slovan Bratislava beat Barys Astana in Kazakhstan 4-2 to reach the verge of playoff qualification.
Slovan is placed sixth in the West with 71 points after 45 games, while Barys holds the same position in the East.
The first two periods saw only one goal, netted by Slovan forward Roman Kukumberg, before the game livened up in the last 20 minutes.
First, Michel Miklik doubled the visitors lead, but Barys managed to equalize thanks to goals from Roman Savchenko and former Calgary Flames center Dustin Boyd.
Forward Mario Bliznak restored Slovan’s lead on 55 minutes before Milan Bartovic sealed the victory with an empty-net goal.
In the other games, Atlant Moscow Region defeated Spartak Moscow 5-2 and Yugra Khanty-Mansyisk gained a 4-2 win over Lev Prague.
Lev rose to eighth in the West, where Atlant is 11th and Spartak 14th, while Yugra is eighth in the East.