A goal blitz at the start of the third period saw Kunlun shake off its New Year hangover in style and reinvigorate its playoff push.
The Chinese team had lost five of its last six and looked to be continuing its downward spiral after goals from Brian O’Neill and Roope Talaja gave Jokerit a 2-0 lead early in the second period. But the host dug deep, showing great character to tie the game with a short-handed goal from Chad Rau and an equalizer on the wraparound from Martin Bakos. All square at the second intermission.
Then Red Star went through the gears to score three goals in less than six minutes. French forward Damien Fleury had a role in all three, getting the tip on Tommi Taimi’s shot from the point to make it 3-2 in the 42nd minute, before chasing play into the corner and emerging with the puck to set up Tomas Marcinko for 4-2. Finally, Fleury screened goalie Ryan Zapolski as Tobias Viklund crashed home a fifth. Ville Lajunen got one back for Jokerit, but Tomi Sallinen finished it off with an empty-net goal. Kunlun moves into seventh ahead of Admiral, Jokerit remains seventh in the West.