SKA completed their 2016/2017 KHL regular season campaign with a match against HC Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod in Saint Petersburg. Head coach Oleg Znarok kept the team largely the same, retaining Evgeny Ketov in the first line. Mikko Koskinen and Mikhail Biryukov were the starting goaltenders.
In the mood for signing off on a high note, SKA made a positive start in the Ice Palace. Some early pressure was rewarded with an opening goal, as Nikolai Prokhorkin netted his sixth marker of the season: powering down the right flank, Nikolai stuffed his effort under Mikhail Biryukov. Buoyed by that goal, SKA continued to dominate, piling the pressure on Torpedo. Ilya Kovalchuk had the best opportunities, blasting off target on a number of occasions.
Against the run of play, Torpedo grabbed a strange equaliser. Brandon Macmillan was forced out wide, the Canadian hopefully lashed the puck across goal, but SKA defenseman Artyom Zub unintentionally deflected it into his own net. Nevertheless, SKA had the perfect response. On the powerplay, Patrik Hersley reinstated the lead, smashing home a slap shot. Alexander Khokhlachyov doubled the advantage before the period was out, reacting quickest to a juicy rebound.
Despite those setbacks, Torpedo refused to lie down. Defenseman Artyom Alyaev promptly made it a one goal game in the third, launching a rocket over Mikko Koskinen's glove. Torpedo, fighting for fifth place in the Western Conference, took over the initiative, creating havoc in SKA's zone as time ran down. However, in the final minute, they shot themselves in the foot. Nikolai Zherdev picked up a needless hooking foul, allowing SKA to seal the deal with a brilliant Ilya Kovalchuk powerplay goal. 4:2, SKA finish the KHL regular season with a victory!
Earning second place in the table, SKA will play HC Vityaz Podolsk in the KHL Gagarin Cup playoffs first round.
SKA - Vityaz - 4:2 (1:0, 2:1, 1:1)
1:0 Prokhorkin, 01.55
1:1 Macmillian (Ashton), 25.20
2:1 Hersley (Datsyuk), 28.18
3:1 Khokhlachyov (Koskiranta, Zub), 35.15
3:2 Alyaev (Norman), 44.57
4:2 Kovalchuk (Hersley), 59.23
Goalkeepers: Koskinen - Biryukov
Shots on target: 41 - 20
Penalty minutes: 2 - 22
Faceoffs: 42 - 29
Hits: 7 - 10
Referees: Belov, Gashilov
18.02.2017. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.