SKA's home series continued with a KHL match against HC Ak Bars Kazan. Head coach Oleg Znarok brought Igor Shestyorkin back in net for this game, while forward Andrei Altybarmakyan stayed in the fourth line. Emil Garipov was Ak Bars' starting goaltender.
With the two conference leaders playing against each other, it was always going to be a tight battle. Predictably, few goalscoring opportunities were witnessed in the opening frame. Ak Bars' Anton Lander has the best chance, but when 1 on 1, he failed to beat Igor Shestyorkin. Our players were pressing inside Ak Bars' zone, but they couldn't create any real shooting lanes. Patrik Hersley came the closest with a trademark hammer shot, however the netminder froze the puck at the second attempt.
Defences continued dominating in the second stanza. As time wore on, SKA began to put the pressure on the Kazan outfit, forcing goalkeeper Emil Garipov into eight saves. However, Ak Bars seemed happy to soak up SKA's pressing. Unfortunately, Ak Bars punished SKA for their profligacy in the final minute of the frame. Vladimir Tkachyov found the puck on the crease, beat his marker, and squeezed a shot beyond Igor Shestyorkin. Nevertheless, he was about to go from hero to zero. Vladimir Tkachyov took a penalty seconds later, a foul which allowed SKA to tie the game up immediately. Ilya Kovalchuk was the scorer, lashing a one timer under Emil Garipov's pads.
Holding the momentum, SKA took a first lead of the match in the third period. A goalmouth scramble erupted, no one could find the puck, and Sergei Kalinin batted it over the line. Ak Bars were on the back foot, but Fyodor Malykhin soon equalised after Igor Shestyorkin had lost control of a rebound. SKA threw everything at Ak Bars during the final stages, but Emil Garipov stood tall to deny Nikita Gusev and Vladislav Gavrikov at point blank range.
Sadly, a Vladimir Tkachyov slap shot on the powerplay won the match for Ak Bars in overtime. 2:3, SKA fall to Ak Bars and lose for the second time in three games.
SKA - Ak Bars - 2:3 OT (0:0, 1:1, 1:1, 0:1)
0:1 Tkachyov (Lukoyanov, Musin), 39.11
1:1 Kovalchuk (Datsyuk, Voynov), 39.43
2:1 Kalinin (Gusev), 41.50
2:2 Malykhin (Glinkin), 48.30
2:3 Tkachyov (Galiev, Tokranov), 62.18
Goalkeepers: Shestyorkin - Garipov
Shots on target: 34 - 30
Penalty minutes: 22 - 10
Faceoffs: 33 - 25
Hits: 19 - 25
Referees: Belov, Bondar
15.10.2017. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.