MOSCOW, December 14 (R-Sport) – Russian hockey side Ak Bars Kazan edged out Spartak Moscow 2-1 to return to first place in the KHL's Eastern Conference.
Two third-period goals from Dmitry Obukhov and Kirill Petrov brought the two-time Gagarin Cup winner a hard-fought victory and a two-point advantage in the table over Barys Astana, which lost a home clash to Sibir Novosibirsk 4-3 late Friday.
Spartak, whose major sponsor Investbank had its license revoked on Friday, stays ninth in the Western Conference, five points beyond the playoffs zone. Futher back, Metallurg Magnitogorsk closed in on Barys after a 1-0 victory at Atlant Moscow Region, which remains 10th in the West.
The league's top-scoring defenseman Chris Lee netted the sole goal, while goaltender Vasily Koshechkin registered a second shutout in three days.
Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, Dynamo Moscow stretched its lead to four points with a 4-2 road win at bottom-placed Dynamo Minsk.
Dinamo Riga climbed to third place after former Columbus Blue Jackets center Kyle Wilson and defenseman Krisjanis Redlihs propelled it to a 2-0 defeat of Traktor Chelyabinsk.
Last year’s finalist Traktor kept eighth spot in the East, after ninth-placed Admiral Vladivostok lost 5-2 at Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. However, Avangard Omsk stormed to its fourth win in a row, beating Metallurg Novokuznetsk 3-2 and cut the distance from Traktor and Admiral to one point.
Elsewhere, a double from young defenseman Nikita Zaitsev could not help CSKA Moscow avoid a 5-4 home defeat to outsider Slovan Bratislava. The Army team conceded four goals in five minutes in the second period and drops two places to fifth in the West, while Donbass Donetsk rose to fourth with a 5-3 win against Vityaz Podolsk.
In other games on Friday: Amur Khabarovsk won 3-2 at Yugra Khanty-Mansisysk; Severstal Cherepovets downed Salavat Yulaev Ufa 5-3; Lokomotiv Yaroslavl suffered a 4-2 home loss to Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk; and Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod managed a 1-0 victory at Medvescak Zagreb on penalty shots.