In Saint Petersburg, SKA produced a determined comeback against HC Salavat Yulaev Ufa in a thriller, recovering from a two-goal deficit to emerge victorious 3:2 in overtime in the 2020/2021 KHL regular season.
Salavat came flying out of the blocks with an aggressive approach. Crashing the net with intent, the visitors regularly tested Mikhail Berdin in the opening stages, subsequently taking the lead in the 11th minute in rather fortunate fashion. At neutral ice, Sakari Manninen dumped the puck towards goal without any realistic hope of scoring, however Berdin was fooled by an awkward bounce as it caught him napping.
Playing with the initiative, the Bashkir giants then doubled their money on a powerplay just five minutes later, as Nikita Soshnikov whipped a wicked wrister beyond the stricken Berdin.
SKA head coach Valeri Bragin opted to swap Berdin for Yaroslav Askarov in net for the second stanza. In truth, that change did seem to make a big difference, as SKA gradually began to take the initiative and create more opportunities in the Salavat zone.
The deficit was halved six minutes into the frame. Seconds after Salavat returned to full strength, Anton Burdasov successfully connected with an intelligent pass from Vladimir Tkachyov, as he thumped an unstoppable one timer past Juha Metsola. Playing with momentum, our players went on to have plenty of promising chances throughout the period, with Miro Aaltonen and Vladislav Kamenev in particular going close from ideal positions.
Nevertheless, with a little less than 10 minutes left of the subsequent third period, SKA did get back on level terms. Pouncing on the loose puck on the doorstep, Burdasov tallied his second of the day, poking it over the line with Metsola on his back. Convinced that the puck had already gone out of play, Salavat boss Tomi Lamsa did challenge the call, however the referees determined that it was a clean goal.
Responding well, the away team did largely dominate the closing minutes of the third period, calling Askarov into action from all angles as they tried desperately to regain their lead. SKA heroically held on, though, and quickly sealed a pulsating triumph in the 14th second of the ensuing overtime period as Tkachyov clinically slotted into the net after good work by Joonas Kemppainen behind the goal.
SKA will now prepare to host Traktor Chelyabinsk at the Ice Palace on Wednesday. Puck drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.
SKA - Salavat Yulaev - 3:2 OT (0:2, 1:0, 1:0, 1:0)
0:1 Manninen (Larsen, Granlund), 10.31
0:2 Soshnikov (Kugryshev, Mukhamadullin), 15.42
1:2 Burdasov (Tkachyov), 26.18
2:2 Burdasov (Morozov, Kuzmenko), 49.17
3:2 Tkachyov (Kemppainen), 60.14
Goalkeepers: Berdin/Askarov - Metsola
Shots on target: 20 - 21
Faceoffs: 23 - 22
Hits: 28 - 12
Penalty minutes: 2 - 4
Referees: Belyaev, Ravodin
16.11.2020. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.