The chance of a climactic end to the Kontinental Hockey League regular season was lost in the shuffle last night. Two teams, Spartak Moscow and Metallurg Novokuznetsk, needing wins to keep their playoff hopes alive came out on the losing end.
In Kazakhstan visiting Barys, Spartak gave up the game-tying goal late in the final period. The overtime tally by Barys forward Lukas Kaspar ended the game and the season for Spartak. The loss also allowed city rival CSKA to claim the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
Meanwhile, Metallurg Novokuznetsk abandoned a one goal lead early against SKA in St. Peterburg, falling to the Western Conference leaders 5-2. Filipp Metlyuk opened the scoring five minutes into the game, but Metallurg’s advantage was erased just 30 seconds later. That was as close as it would be as SKA skated past Metallurg for the three goal win.
With the 16 contenders vying for the Gagarin Cup decided, the final two games of the regular season will determine playoff seeding and the recipient of the Kontinental Cup, awarded to the team with the best regular season record. West leading SKA (30 wins, 107 pts.) and East leading Traktor (30 wins, 108 pts.) each have two home games left. SKA will play host to Amur and Sibir, while Traktor entertains Spartak and Severstal.
KHL playoffs begin February 29.