Three years after crash, Lokomotiv beats KHL champs in playoffs

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

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Two seasons ago the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl KHL team didn't even play following the horrific plane crash that took the lives of almost every player and coach in the organization. Now not only are Lokomotiv back, but they sprung a big upset in the first round of the KHL playoffs on Monday.

Lokomotiv made it into the playoffs as the eight seed in the KHL's Western Conference, meaning they drew the two-time defending champs and No. 1 seed, Dynamo Moscow (Alex Ovechkin's former team). The first six games held true to home-ice to force the always fun Game 7.

Playing in Moscow, Lokomotiv got a pair of goals from Sergei Konkov and then tallies from Alexander Chernikov, Yegor Averin and Geoff Platt to roll to a stunning 5-1 and take out the champs to advance. You can see the celebration on the ice and bench near the end of the video above.

It's a remarkable story for the franchise to have so quickly built back up to be able to have this kind of showing. In the first season back, 2012-13, there were a lot of players who signed on to join the rebuild, forer NHLers like Viktor Kozlov, Niklas Hagman and Sami Lepisto among others. It helped Lokomotiv reach the postseason as the four seed but they lost in the first round.

Only goaltender Curtis Sanford and Staffan Kronwall, brother of Niklas Kronwall, remain with the team from that group, though. Still, Lokomotiv had enough to spring the biggest upset of the KHL postseason, not to mention complete an incredible comeback.

It doesn't get any easier now for Lokomotiv, though. Because of reseeding they now will face the No. 2 seed, which is Ilya Kovalchuk's SKA St. Petersburg squad.

 
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