The Kontinental Hockey League will have a new champion at season’s end. Defending Gagarin Cup champion Salavat Yulaev and its superstar Alexander Radulov have been eliminated from the playoffs. Meanwhile, Barys missed another opportunity to advance to round two, setting up a decisive Game Seven on Sunday.
(4) Ak Bars vs. (5) Salavat Yulaev
Ak Bars wins series 4-2
The series featured the only two teams to ever hoist the coveted Gagarin Cup. In 2011, Salavat Yulaev eliminated Ak Bars en route to its first championship. It is now 2012 and Ak Bars just returned the favor with a 3-2 win in Game Six. Ak Bars jumped out to an early two goal lead in the first period, only to see the home team, Salavat, respond with two of their own in the second session. Konstantin Korneyev put Ak Bars ahead for good nearly half way through the third period. Alexander Radulov, Salavat’s high scoring forward and the KHL’s leading scorer, failed to produce a single goal in the series. He did, however dish out six assists.
(3) Metallurg vs. (6) Barys
Series tied 3-3
Metallurg answered the bell in Game Six, scratching out a 4-3 overtime road win against Barys. Sergei Mozyakin secured the win less than two minutes into the extra period, putting home a rebound to force a Game Seven Sunday. Metallurg scored two unanswered goals to move ahead in the third period, only to see it slip away in the waning minutes. Barys failed in its second attempt to upset the higher seeded Metallurg, now they face a final, decisive game on the road in Magnitogorsk.
The final spot in the Western Conference second round is up for grabs tonight as Torpedo looks to avoid upset-minded Dynamo Riga in Game Seven.