MOSCOW, January 4 (R-Sport) - Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin scored his 19th goal in the KHL on Friday help his lockout team Dynamo Moscow beat Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 3-1.
Gagarin Cup holder Dynamo stays third in the Western Conference, one point adrift of conference leader SKA St. Petersburg, while Torpedo missed a chance to get into the playoff zone and remains 10th.
Ruslan Zainullin put visiting team Torpedo in the lead on 14 minutes when Dynamo’s goaltender Alexander Yeremenko blundered on a pass.
In the second period, Swedish center Richard Gynge equalized from the crease before Dynamo stormed forward to score twice in the space of 20 seconds.
First, Ovechkin knocked in a pass from Toronto Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov, before Dominik Granak finished a beautiful combination move by Gynge and Denis Kokarev.
Elsewhere, SKA held onto the top spot with a 4-0 home demolition of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, which dropped two places to the fourth as a result.
Norwegian forward Patrick Thoresen hit the top corner of Semyon Varlamov’s net early in the second period, before Alexander Kucheryavenko doubled the lead 10 minutes later.
Then, St. Louis Blues starlet Vladimir Tarasenko made it 3-0 and SKA captain Ilya Kovalchuk finished off the thrashing with an empty-netter.
Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made his third shutout of the season for SKA with 26 saves.
Elsewhere, CSKA Moscow grabbed its fourth consecutive win, defeating Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 3-1.
CSKA climbed to second in the West, while Neftekhimik remains eighth in the East.
Alexander Radulov hit the opener on nine minutes, but the visitors retaliated before the first break with an accurate shot by Maxim Pestushko.
Ilya Zubov restored CSKA’s lead early in the second before former Vancouver Canucks wing Sergei Shirokov hit an empty netter late in the game to secure the victory.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.