Thanks to a memorable start to the match, SKA powered past arch-rivals CSKA Moscow at home in the 2022/2023 KHL regular season, claiming an emphatic 6:2 triumph.
In turned out to be a scintillating first period at the Ice Palace.
Adam Reideborn was the villain of the piece for CSKA. After he failed to hold a seemingly harmless effort from Nikita Gusev with only 28 seconds on the clock, he handed the puck to the unmarked Mikhail Vorobyov on the doorstep, who had no trouble in knocking it over the line.
The 30-year-old Swedish netminder repeated the trick less than two minutes later.
Having given up a terrible rebound when under no pressure, Reideborn was powerless to prevent Gusev’s backhander from creeping in.
Two soon became three.
Between the circles, Zakhar Bardakov sent the arena into raptures, beating the unsighted Reideborn with a laser through traffic.
Incredibly, SKA made it four in the 14th minute.
Powering to the crease from the right flank, Damir Zhafyarov burst past the static CSKA defence and ruthlessly wristed into the far corner. Nothing Reideborn could do about that one but, predictably, the CSKA coaching staff swapped the Swede in net for Alexander Sharychenkov in a bid to turn the tide of a game which was horribly getting out of hand for the away side.
That change initially didn’t have the desired effect.
Zhafyarov tallied his second of the evening in the fourth minute of the second stanza, whipping the puck over Sharychenkov after cleverly working his way to the slot.
SKA looked home and hosed. However, whenever you compete against CSKA, any lapse in concentration is immediately punished.
That proved to be the case today.
Pavel Karnaukhov got the Muscovites on the board in the 27th minute on the counter-attack. All of a sudden, a buoyant CSKA found their feet, netting a second a matter of 120 seconds later as familiar face Vladislav Kamenev hit the jackpot from the doorstep.
SKA head coach Roman Rotenberg promptly signalled for his time-out.
Nevertheless, the manner of proceedings didn’t change. Having smelt blood, CSKA were firmly competing on the front foot, bombarding our net and preventing our players from exiting their zone. Nikolaev came to the rescue for SKA on a number of occasions, denying the likes of Maxim Mamin and Sergei Plotnikov with tricky saves at point-blank range.
Two powerplays at the start of the third period allowed CSKA to continue bossing the flow of play. From the left faceoff circle, Konstantin Okulov came agonisingly close to CSKA’s third, striking the far post on the man advantage.
Bardakov also hit the pipe for SKA when playing shorthanded.
CSKA were forcing the issue. But, when displaying impressive individual skill, Dmitrij Jaskin practically ended the game as a contest in the 49th minute.
Simply too strong for the CSKA defence, the 29-year-old Czech forward battled his way to the slot and hooked the puck in past Sharychenkov. At first, the referees didn’t notice that the puck had gone it, but they quickly gave the goal after receiving the call from the KHL’s control room.
In the remaining minutes, CSKA tried their best to get back into the match, but SKA calmly saw it out with ideal game management.
SKA will now prepare to host Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in Saint Petersburg on Thursday. Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.
SKA – CSKA – 6:2 (4:0, 1:2, 1:0)
1:0 Vorobyov (Gusev, Khairullin), 00.28
2:0 Gusev (Khairullin, Vorobyov), 02.16
3:0 Bardakov (Ozhiganov, Kamalov), 07.20
4:0 Zhafyarov (Ozhiganov, Glotov), 13.16
5:0 Zhafyarov (Jaskin, Ozhiganov), 23.55
5:1 Karnaukhov (Grigorenko, Plotnikov), 26.46
5:2 Kamenev (Mamin), 28.40
6:2 Jaskin, 48.50
Goalkeepers: Nikolaev – Reideborn/Sharychenkov
Shots: 38 – 73
Shots on target: 22 – 31
Faceoffs: 43 – 29
Hits: 18 – 25
Blocked shots: 23 – 12
Penalty minutes: 8 – 6
Referees: Belyaev, Naumov
Linesmen: Vilyugin, Kupriyanov
22.11.2022. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.