At the Ice Palace, SKA made short work of Kunlun Red Star Beijing, coasting to a comfortable 7:0 victory in the 2021/2022 KHL regular season to increase the lead in first place of the Western Conference to three points.
The occasion was also marked by 19-year-old defenseman Nikita Smirnov’s KHL debut.
Kunlun did initially make the faster start. In the third minute, Alex Riche had appeared to have given the Chinese outfit an early advantage, but his goal was subsequently disallowed for offside after a coach’s challenge from SKA.
That moment proved to be decisive.
Moments later, Daniil Pylenkov gave SKA the advantage, firing his rising wrister over Jeremy Smith when falling off balance to score his first goal for our organisation. On the powerplay, Linden Vey doubled SKA’s money from point blank range in the seventh minute, before Nikita Gusev scored his maiden goal since returning to our club five minutes later as he neatly slotted beyond Smith from the crease. SKA weren’t finished there in the first period either, as Vey grabbed his second of the day in the 15th minute when taking aim from the left wing.
The second period saw the tempo of proceedings somewhat drop.
Leading by four goals, SKA did admittedly take their foot off the gas, with our players not creating as many openings in the attacking zone zone. Towards the end of the stanza, chances did begin to appear in the Kunlun zone again, but Smith did well to pull off a series of tough saves against Yury Pautov and Vladislav Tsitsyura.
For their part, Kunlun were trying to gain a foothold in the game, spending time in our zone and testing SKA goaltender Lars Johansson from any angle possible. Alone on the doorstep, Parker Foo looked sure to score when competing on the powerplay, but he was denied by a superb glove stop from Johansson.
SKA did, however, round off the game with a bang in the third period.
In what was a fantastic individual goal, Ivan Morozov got his name on the scoreboard in the first minute of the stanza, speeding to the net from his own zone on the left flank and getting the better of the forlorn Smith. Moments later, Joonas Kemppainen tallied SKA’s second powerplay of the evening, giving a flowing play the finish it deserved.
Kemppainen then iced it with another powerplay goal in the concluding minute.
Johansson, who now possesses a hugely impressive total of seven shutouts in the campaign so far, stopped all 18 shots he faced in the match.
SKA will prepare to compete against Avangard Omsk on the road in Balashikha on Monday. Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.
SKA - Kunlun Red Star - 7:0 (4:0, 0:0, 3:0)
1:0 Pylenkov (Kuzmenko, Pautov), 03.42
2:0 Vey (Khusnutdinov, Gusev), 06.05
3:0 Gusev (Morozov), 11.49
4:0 Vey (Moiseev, Robinson), 14.32
5:0 Morozov (Gusev), 40.58
6:0 Kemppainen (Gusev, Robinson), 44.43
7:0 Kemppainen (Vey, Khusnutdinov), 59.28
Goalkeepers: Johansson - Smith
Shots on target: 40 - 18
Faceoffs: 39 - 20
Hits: 14 - 18
Penalty minutes: 4 - 18
Referees: Mochalov, Soin
21.10.2021. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.