MOSCOW, December 29 (R-Sport) – Former Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O’Reilly netted twice to help Metallurg Magnitogorsk demolish Metallurg Novokuznetsk 6-0.
Evgeni Malkin’s team remains third in the Eastern Conference, while Novokuznetsk continues to languish in 10th after six consecutive defeats.
The KHL's leading points scorer Sergei Mozyakin put Magnitogorsk ahead on seven minutes Friday off a pass from Malkin. Mats Zuccarello, Toronto Maple Leafs wing Nikolai Kulemin and O’Reilly extended the hosts’ lead in the second period.
Malkin found the net himself in the final period before O’Reilly completed the rout with his fourth goal in five games.
“It’s much easier to play at home. The support of our fans, the usual day routine, all this helps a lot. I hope that I will be able to play better with every passing game,” said O'Reilly, the 21-year-old who signed a two-year deal with Metallurg earlier this month.
Finnish goaltender Ari Ahonen registered his second shutout of the season, making 23 saves.
Meanwhile, Avangard Omsk gained a narrow 1-0 victory over Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod to restore its lead in the East.
The goal game from ex-Montreal Canadiens wing Alexander Perezhogin, who scored off a rebound in the second period.
Goaltender Karri Ramo shared the glory, saving all 30 of Torpedo’s shots.
Torpedo stands ninth in the West, just three points behind the lowest playoff zone team, Donbass Donetsk.
Elsewhere, Ilya Kovalchuk brought SKA St. Petersburg a 1-0 win against Slovan Bratislava, drawing the team closer to the top of the Western Conference.
SKA's New Jersey Devils star Kovalchuk intercepted the puck in the neutral zone and nailed the upper corner of Jaroslav Janus’ net.
“The most important thing is that we took three points,” Kovalchuk said after the game.
“The Slovan goaltender played very well. We had a lot of chances; we should be playing better on our powerplays. We understood perfectly what the coach demands of us, so we just need to use our chances.”
SKA is now just two points behind Dynamo Moscow, which suffered a surprise 4-2 home defeat to Lev Prague, while the Slovak newcomer stands fifth.
Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made the second shutout this month with 27 saves.
The second-placed team in the West, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, suffered its third consecutive defeat, losing 2-0 at Barys Astana.
Barys extended its winning series to seven games to consolidate fifth position in the East.
In the other Friday’s games, Traktor Chelyabinsk beat Amur Khabarovsk 3-1, Atlant Moscow Region broke its six-game losing streak with a 5-3 win at Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk and Sibir Novosibirsk beat the league's worst-performing team Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 2-0.