In the first match of this particular away series, SKA comfortably defeated Dinamo Minsk in Belarus, easing to a routine 5:1 victory.
Marat Khairullin opened the scoring in the early stages. After stealing the puck, the in-form forward powered to the slot and carefully backhanded between Konstantin Shostak's pads.
However, the Belarusians equalised just three minutes later. On the left wing, Pavel Varfolomeev was allowed to have clear sight of goal, and he sent his powerful wrister under Dmitry Nikolaev's glove.
Minsk certainly had the better of the first period. Competing on the front foot, the hosts applied plenty of pressure on SKA, protecting the puck inside the attacking zone and calling Nikolaev into action on a regular basis.
Thankfully for us, our players turned the game around in the second stanza.
Nikita Kamalov gave us our second lead of the game in the second minute of the period, beating the unsighted Shostak with a hopeful wrist shot from the blue line.
The advantage was quickly increased to two in the fifth minute of the frame.
And it was a superb goal too. When receiving the puck inside his own zone, Dmitrij Jaskin sped towards the Belarusian net from deep and caught Shostak cold with a sharp attempt from a seemingly harmless position.
That goal prompted Minsk into swapping Shostak in their net in favour of Alexei Kolosov.
Nevertheless, it made little difference to the match.
The fourth goal arrived in the 37th minute. Damir Zhafyarov showed brilliant tenacity to steal the puck behind the opposing net, taking control of possession before finding the onrushing Alexander Volkov who gave Kolosov no chance with his ensuing effort.
At the start of the third period, Emil Galimov thought that he had tallied our fifth goal as he tipped past the goalkeeper. However, following a video review, the goal was disallowed as a consequence of his stick having been too high.
Dinamo went on to press SKA with intensity. To our delight, Nikolaev was on his game, with our goalkeeper pulling off a series of wonderful saves. His stunning point-blank stop against Ryan Spooner was the highlight of the lot.
Shorthanded, Maxim Groshev rounded off proceedings for SKA with his second of the campaign, getting the better of Kolosov when clean through.
SKA will now prepare to face CSKA in Moscow on Monday. Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.
Dinamo Minsk - SKA - 1:5 (1:1, 0:3, 0:1)
0:1 Khairullin, 03.39
1:1 Varfolomeev, 06.41
1:2 Kamalov, 21.49
1:3 Jaskin (Pedan), 24.11
1:4 Volkov (Zhafyarov), 36.18
1:5 Groshev, 58.01 SHG
Goalkeepers: Shostak/Kolosov - Nikolaev
Shots: 59 - 53
Shots on target: 29 - 28
Faceoffs: 26 - 30
Hits: 27 - 16
Blocked shots: 6 - 14
Penalty minutes: 9 - 11
Referees: Naumov, Shchenyov
Linesmen: Streltsov, Chernyshyov