A three-goal performance from ex-NHL forward Alexander Radulov gave big-spending CSKA Moscow a 4-2 win against Yugra Khanty-Mansiisk in the KHL on Saturday.
The win lifts CSKA to third in the Western Conference after eight games, following a start to the season that had previously ailed to live up to much of the hype caused by the team’s summer spending spree.
Former Nashville Predators man Radulov scored once in each period, the last into an empty net, as he made the difference in a game where CSKA outshot Yugra 33-31.
In the East, NHL lockout star Evgeni Malkin grabbed his second assist in two games, setting up a goal for Canadian Justin Hodgman, but was unable to prevent his Metallurg Magnitogorsk team losing 2-1 to Ak Bars Kazan on penalty shots.
Elsewhere, Western Conference leader Lev Prague went down 4-2 at home to Barys Astana in what was only the Czech team’s second defeat in eight matches since relocating from Slovakia in the summer.
Jakub Voracek, a lockout signing from the Philadelphia Flyers, scored Lev’s second goal on his debut.
Atlant Moscow Region is second in the West after a 5-2 drubbing of Dynamo Riga on Friday, while Severstal Cherepovets beat Amur Khabarovsk 3-1 on Saturday to go fifth. Champion team Dynamo Moscow is fourth and has not played since Thursday.
Vityaz Chekhov became the last team in the KHL to pick up a win in regulation time when it beat Metallurg Novokuznetsk 3-0 with all goals coming in the first period and a masterful performance from goaltender Ivan Kasutin, who faced 54 shots but still managed the day’s only shutout.
Vityaz is now 10th in the West.
On Friday, the reformed Lokomotiv Yaroslavl took its fourth win in six games after beating Spartak Moscow 4-2 in what is likely to be the team’s last game without its first lockout signing, goaltender Semyon Varlamov.
In the Eastern Conference, former double champion Ak Bars Kazan is top after beating Malkin’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk team, and Sibir Novosibirsk in second after beating Dynamo Minsk 2-1 despite being outshot 36-29.
NHL No. 1 draft pick Nail Yakupov played his first KHL game for Neftekhimik Nizhekamsk on Saturday after joining in the lockout, but he failed to score with any of his four shots as his team lost 3-1 to Traktor Chelyabinsk, regular season champion last campaign.
In other games, Salavat Yulaev Ufa beat Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 2-1 and Slovan Bratislava beat last year’s losing finalist Avangard Omsk 4-2 in Slovakia, outshooting its Siberian visitors 29-21.