At the Ice Palace, SKA couldn’t produce the required level of performance against Salavat Yulaev Ufa, conceding a flat 2:4 defeat at home in the 2021/2022 KHL regular season.
SKA spent the vast majority of the first period focused on defence. Opting for a cautious approach, our players were concentrated on not making any unnecessary mistakes, whereas Salavat were slightly more ambitious. Thankfully for us, goaltender Lars Johansson was on his game in the opening 20 minutes, notably denying the clean-through Grigory Panin with the glove and then carefully pushing Sergei Shmelyov’s rising attempt over the crossbar. Joonas Kemppainen had our only real opportunity of the period, knocking the puck into Salavat goalkeeper Alexander Sharychenkov’s pads when connecting with a clever pass across the slot.
Salavat really did take the match by the scruff of the neck in the second stanza.
On the powerplay, the Bashkir outfit scored two quickfire goals, as Sakari Manninen hit the jackpot from the left faceoff circle and Shakir Mukhamadullin beat Johansson with a huge slap shot from the blue line. In truth, Salavat were completely dominant on the ice during the entirety of the second period, testing Johansson constantly and creating shooting lanes at will.
Midway through the frame, Alexander Kadeikin should have increased Ufa’s advantage to three, but he contrived to hit the pipe on the powerplay with the goal at his mercy.
Salavat did, however, grab their third goal in the third minute of the third period. In space on the counter-attack, Pyotr Khokhryakov had time to pick his spot, giving Johansson no chance from point-blank range.
The game looked dead and buried. Nevertheless, our team rapidly began to increase the intensity as the minute rolled on, and Anton Burdasov reduced the deficit to two in the 48th minute as he went top-shelf on Sharychenkov after collecting a rebound at the high slot.
SKA got back to within one in the 58th minute. After Johansson had been pulled for the extra skater, Evgeny Timkin got on the board, expertly tipping Burdasov’s wrist shot beyond Sharychenkov.
The comeback wasn’t quite completed, though, as Salavat subsequently sealed the deal through Danil Bashkirov after Johansson had once again skated to the bench.
SKA will now prepare to compete against Dinamo Minsk in Belarus on Saturday. Puck-drop is scheduled for 17:30 local time.
SKA - Salavat Yulaev - 2:4 (0:0, 0:2, 2:2)
0:1 Manninen (Mukhamadullin, Granlund), 22.53
0:2 Mukhamadullin (Manninen, Granlund), 24.50
0:3 Khokhryakov (Amirov), 42.02
1:3 Burdasov (Pylenkov, Kirsanov), 47.22
2:3 Timkin (Burdasov, Fantenberg), 57.13
2:4 Bashkirov (Koledov, Naumenkov), 57.53
Goalkeepers: Johansson - Sharychenkov
Shots on target: 19 - 36
Faceoffs: 32 - 23
Hits: 21 - 9
Penalty minutes: 6 - 6
Referees: Gofman, Frano
23.09.2021. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.