In the fifth match of the third round of the 2021/2022 KHL Gagarin Cup playoffs, SKA outlasted CSKA Moscow in Saint Petersburg, claiming a dramatic 3:2 victory at the Ice Palace to consequently move 3-2 ahead in the series.
CSKA came out in a determined frame of mind.
Immediately taking the game to SKA, the visitors tested Lars Johansson on a few occasions during the opening shifts. However, SKA gradually managed to take the initiative from the opponents, with Danila Moiseev notably being denied by CSKA goaltender Ivan Fedotov when clean through.
The visitors took the lead out of the blue on the counter-attack.
Once again, it was CSKA’s ruthless third line, as Andrei Svetlakov caught Johansson cold from a tight angle on the left flank.
The Muscovites enjoyed a brief spell of pressure following that goal. But, after wasting another powerplay, SKA got back on level terms in the concluding minute of the first period.
Unmarked behind the CSKA net, Alexander Volkov banked the puck in off Fedotov’s back following a goalmouth scramble.
Until this game, SKA had always dominated proceedings during the second periods of matches, but this time the complete opposite occurred.
CSKA controlled play for the vast majority of the period. Protecting possession effectively, the away team barely allowed our players to get anywhere near Fedotov’s net, keeping the puck deep in our zone and carving open a series of shooting lanes.
The opponents did take the lead again in the 28th minute. Unmarked to the right of the crease, Svetlakov connected with a sweeping pass from the opposite flank to beat the powerless Johansson following several sloppy mistakes from SKA.
CSKA were in charge of the game. SKA made an improvement towards the end of the frame, though, equalising in the 38th minute as Moiseev forced the puck over the line at point-blank range. Initially, the goal was waved off by the referees, but it was subsequently given after a lengthy video review concerning the possibility that Moiseev had knocked it in with his hand on purpose.
In truth, SKA went on to really struggle throughout the entirety of the third period.
Firmly on the front foot, the Moscow-based opponents applied huge pressure on the home team, forcing SKA into a large amount of mistakes with their high pace and testing Johansson from any angle possible. Johansson was indeed the only player keeping the score level, pulling off wonderful stops to somehow keep a rampant CSKA at bay.
Maxim Sorkin came the closest to a third goal for CSKA, wristing against the right post from between the faceoff circles.
The decisive moment of the game arrived in the penultimate minute of regulation time.
Having successfully weathered the storm, SKA defenseman Oscar Fantenberg struck a killer blow, unleashing an unstoppable slap shot which crashed beyond the unsighted Fedotov after CSKA forward Svetlakov had been punished for tripping at neutral ice.
In the dying seconds, CSKA head coach Sergei Fyodorov had time in which to pull Fedotov in favour of the extra skater, but they couldn’t find an equaliser.
Game six of the series will take place on Tuesday. Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:00 local time.
SKA – CSKA – 3:2 (1:1, 1:1, 1:0)
0:1 Svetlakov (Popov, Sorkin), 11.34
1:1 Volkov (Bardakov, Tsitsyura), 19.11
1:2 Svetlakov (Kiselevich, Okulov), 27.18
2:2 Moiseev (Falkovsky), 37.33
3:2 Fantenberg (Gusev, Kuzmenko), 58.50 PPG
Goalkeepers: Johansson – Fedotov
Shots: 45 - 52
Shots on target: 24 - 22
Faceoffs: 21 - 22
Blocked shots: 18 - 8
Hits: 8 - 17
Penalty minutes: 4 - 10
Referees: Birin, Ravodin
Linesmen: Novikov, Shishlo
10.04.2022. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.