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SKA - Torpedo. Press-conference of game two

Roman RotenbergInterviewPress-conferenceTorpedoNikita KamalovMarat KhairullinSKA - Torpedo - 180323
HC SKA press-service

HC SKA head coach Roman Rotenberg:

- It was a hard-fought playoff game. The guys did a great job, they fought hard for each other as a united group. We have things to work on. I would like to thank our fans for the fantastic energy which they provided us with, our players consequently played with fire in their eyes. Luck helps the strongest.

- When goalkeeper Dmitry Nikolaev tried to score an empty-netter with four seconds remaining, he ended up icing the puck and Torpedo consequently had a faceoff draw inside your zone. If Torpedo would have scored, the game would have required overtime. As a coach, how would you summarise his actions there?

- You can't win without taking risks. However, sometimes it's not worth taking the risk. In that situation, he had to be 100% sure that he was going to score. Both our goaltenders and skaters should only play for the benefit of the team.

- What is going wrong for SKA on the powerplay in these playoffs?

- We will work and train hard in order to improve our powerplay performance.

SKA - Torpedo. Press-conference of game twoSKA - Torpedo. Press-conference of game two

- Psychologically, is this series easier than the one against Dinamo Minsk?

- It's impossible to win easily. Torpedo are a strong, quick opponent. You can't compare Torpedo and Minsk, they are two totally different teams. Everything depends on us, we're only just getting started. We can't afford to relax.

- Did you play in order to protect your lead in the third period?

- No. Instead, we played aggressively in the neutral zone and didn't allow the opponents to move through towards our net. At the same time, we had opportunities to score of our own. All of the guys played for the benefit of the team.

- Why didn't Dmitrij Jaskin play in the third frame?

- We will discuss the situation. We're counting on Dmitrij playing on Monday.

- SKA have conceded four goals already in these playoffs while competing on the powerplay. Is this a discipline issue?

- Our opponents are playing in a pro-active manner on the PK, they're covering our forwards. We need to make more unexpected decisions in order to surprise them. Hard work and discipline form the keys to victory, we'll be stronger for game three.

- Your first two goals were scored after similiar passing plays. Had you planned these moves?

- Our job as coaches is to help the team win. We've been making adjustments throughout the campaign.

- It seems that not all of your players are competing with fire in their eyes. Can Nikita Gusev and Damir Zhafyarov improve?

- This is a team win today. In the next match, all of our players are obliged to produce an improved performance. I would like to add that our supporters gave us superb energy today which we will now take to Nizhny Novgorod with us, the players competed for our captain in the third period.

HC Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod head coach Igor Larionov:

- First of all, I want to congratulate SKA with their win. I'm sure that the fans here and the spectators watching at home thoroughly enjoyed the game. Our guys played well, but we ran out of time. Nevertheless, we won't give up. We'll be waiting for our opponents in Nizhny Novgorod.

- Why are your players constantly shooting wide when presented with clear scoring opportunities?

- If we speak about Alexei Kruchinin, then he hasn't got back to top form yet. I'm happy that Nikolai Kovalenko scored today, we want our players to start scoring more goals. We took the first step in this game. In order to win, we have to create even more chances. Yes, we lost 4:5 today, but there are plenty of positive aspects which we can take away with us. Our players continued playing a passing game instead of competing individually, they stuck to the plan. We had plenty of opportunities to equalise and win. Right now, the main thing is to prepare for game three at home.

- Torpedo's defensemen allowed SKA to score easy goals.

- Yes, we've already spoken about this. We're helping the opponents to create opportunities of their own. Unfortunately, in such tense games you can't always control the emotions of your players. We need to keep believing that our players will be able to fix their mistakes and win the next match on Monday.

- Artyom Mikheev and Andrei Belevich are impressing, but Maxim Letunov has stopped playing so productively.

- In our series against Dynamo Moscow, Maxim played in a line with Kovalenko and Sergei Goncharuk. He undertakes a lot of defensive work, but he is also capable of being a playmaker. I will speak to him individually tomorrow. It's important to make sure that a player is feeling confident in himself, the psychological side of the game is vital.

- What can Torpedo do to level this series at home?

- We aren't looking that far ahead. At the moment, we are focusing on the next game. We need time to analyse this match, our injuries and our line formations.

- What did you make of Torpedo's travelling fans today? Did you hear their support?

- We are always grateful to our fans for finding the time, strength and finances to support us on the road. We will try to repay their faith with good performances in Nizhny Novgorod.

- In game one, Torpedo were solid defensively. What happened today?

- We spoke about this issue during the breaks. The playoffs are always unpredictable, but we can't be afraid to commit mistakes. None of us can guarantee that every game will contain low scores and solid defensive play. Our game is focused on attacking, and we will continue in the same manner. I do hope that we will make less mistakes in defence in future matches.

- Can you compare the KHL playoffs to the NHL?

- This is my first playoff campaign in the KHL as a coach. Of course, we're happy that we are attracting the attention of the media and fans with our play. After I travelled to Detroit in November where I watched two of their matches against Washington and the New York Islanders, I realised that we really do have great ice hockey in our own league. I don't feel that there is a huge gap between the NHL and KHL.

- How does Anton Sizov feel after his mistake in game one for SKA's winning goal?

- Anton is an experienced guy, he's the soul of our team. When I played for Detroit, I saw how some fantastic players committed mistakes. It's crucial for us that our players don't lose belief in themselves. We win together and we lose together, this is the way in which we operate.

HC SKA defenseman Nikita Kamalov:

- I think that the fans enjoyed seeing so many goals today. From our point of view, we need to think about how to play better defensively. Nonetheless, the main thing is that we earned the victory. My goal? After I had initially skated clean through, I took the puck to an awkward angle. I noticed that the goalkeeper was already down, so I decided to shoot against his skate. My wife recently gave birth to our second child, so I dedicated my goal to her. Torpedo played the same as on Thursday? No, I don't agree at all. Torpedo competed in a completely different manner today, both teams played with the shackles off. We will now travel to Nizhny Novgorod for two more wins.

HC SKA forward Marat Khairullin:

- The most important thing is that we won. Ahead of game three, we will analyse the mistakes which we committed. As Nikita said, we cannot continue conceding so many goals. All of the games in the playoffs are tense, no one wants to lose. Will we recover in time for the third match in Nizhny Novgorod? Yes, it's a lot better to play in games rather than resting too much. In comparison to game one, I thought that our powerplay was better today, but we must stop making so many mistakes which are resulting in conceded goals. We have to play more calmly and score goals of our own. In this series, both teams are allowing each other to display their best qualities, the supporters are enjoying it and so are we. Maybe Torpedo only focused on attack in the regular season, but now they're trying to defend well too.

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