Metallurg Magnitogorsk played Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk at home in their last regular season game for the 2017-18 KHL season on Thursday night. This game would be a battle between two teams very close in the standings and would determine which one would have the higher seed in the playoffs.
Metallurg’ Olympic Gold Medalists, Sergei Mozyakin and Vasily Koshechkin, had arrived back in Magnitogorsk at 5:00 a.m. the day of the game, following an overnight flight from Moscow. While the two players arrived at Arena Metallurg to be honored for their Olympic heroics prior to the game, neither of them would play in the game. So once again, Caps prospect, Ilya Samsonov was in goal for Magnitka.
Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk scored first in this contest on a power play goal at 9:15 of the opening frame. Metallurg was only 5 seconds away from killing a too many men penalty when the visitors struck. The score was 1-0 at the end of the first period. Magnitka led in shots 9-8.
Nearly five minutes into the second period, former NHLer Nikita Filatov scored for Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk to put the visitors up 2-0. A golden opportunity came for Metallurg with just over nine minutes to go in the second period when Dan Sexton earned a major penalty for Nizhnekamsk. Magnitka finally scored three minutes into the penaly with a tally from Matt Ellison, making it 2-1 at the second intermission. Metallurg had outshot Nizhnekamsk 17-5 for the period.
Metallurg would tie up the game less than four seconds into the third period. Sergei Tereshchenko passed to Evgeny Timkin For the tally. Wojtek Wolski also got an assist on the play. The score was tied up at 2-2. Then, with just three minutes left in regulation, Denis Kokarev would put Metallurg ahead for good with assists from Timkin and Nikita Pivtsakin.
Ilya Samsonov made 23 saves out of the 25 shots he faced, for a save percentage that was close to his save percentage for the season. For the 2017-18 regular season, he is now 12-9-1 and has a save percentage of .926.
Even though Magnitka won and were able to stay ahead of Nizhnekamsk in the standings, they will still start the playoffs on the road as Avtomobilist in Yekaterinaburg, who had the same number of points as they did, but edged Metallurg out due to having more wins in regulation. The first two games of that playoff series will be played on March 4 and 5. The next two games will be played in Metallurg on March 7 and 8.
By Diane Doyle
Recap from Metallurg Magnitogorsk Site
Link to Photos for Game
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