MOSCOW, March 27 (R-Sport) - KHL star Ilya Kovalchuk has escaped punishment for a fight with Jonas Holos during SKA St. Petersburg's 3-2 defeat to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl on Wednesday night.
The ex-NHL star was penalized with a cumulative 27 minutes for instigating the protracted exchange of blows with the Norwegian defenseman just seconds from the final buzzer.
They were finally prised apart by referees after tiring.
KHL rules provide for sanctions of up to a three-game suspension for fights in the last five minutes, but the organization said it was satisfied with the penalty handed to Kovalchuk on the ice and would leave it at that.
The result left SKA on the brink of elimination from the KHL playoffs, trailing Lokomotiv 3-2 in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series. The potentially decisive Game Six is Friday in Yaroslavl.
Kovalchuk was made SKA's captain after rocking the hockey world by walking away from a multimillion dollar deal with the New Jersey Devils in July and returning to Russia while still in his prime.