Kunlun keeps the series alive

Kunlun Red Star 3 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 1

(Metallurg leads the series 3-1)

The defending champion’s hopes of sweeping into the Conference Semi-Finals hit a bump as Kunlun delivered a memorable victory in Beijing.

Roared on by a crowd of over 7,000, the KHL newcomer got its first ever post-season win and avoided a white-wash in its inaugural playoff series.

Drawing on the kind of determination that put the team into the top eight in the Eastern Conference, Vladimir Yurzinov’s men produced stout resistance on defense and some clinical finishing when chances came at the other end. And, this time, there were no costly lapses in concentration as Red Star held on for the win.

The home team struck first, taking the lead in the ninth minute when Martin Bakos found enough space in front of the net to deflect Joonas Jarvinen’s feed beyond Vasily Koshechkin. But Metallurg had far more opportunities in the opening stanza, outshooting the host 13-5 and testing Tomi Karhunen in the Kunlun net.

Those efforts came to naught, and Chad Rau, Kunlun’s leading scorer in the regular season, got his first of the playoffs to make it 2-0 in the 20th minute. Linus Videll launched another marauding raid down the right channels before finding Tuukka Mantyla. The Finn’s defense-splitting pass picked out Rau in the left-hand circle with Koshechkin out of position at the near post.

Early in the second period, Tommi Taimi’s power play goal extended Kunlun’s lead and chased Koshechkin from the net. The middle session was more evenly-matched than the first, with Kunlun creating further opportunities to extend its lead, only to be pegged back in the final seconds. Viktor Antipin got the goal, also on a power play, when he deflected Chris Lee’s shot beyond Karhunen.

But there was to be no revival this time for Magnitka. The third period was dominated by defense, with Metallurg’s powerful forwards able to manage just eight attempts on Karhunen’s net. The fearsome MozyakinKovarZaripov line was limited to a solitary shot as the home team treated Chinese fans to a win to remember.



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