In the sixth match of the third round of the 2020/2021 KHL Gagarin Cup playoffs, SKA came up short against CSKA Moscow at the Ice Palace, conceding a 0:2 defeat to lose the series by an overall score of 2-4.
The two teams came out with real intent during the opening shifts. SKA did have the first powerplay after Anton Slepyshev committed high-sticking, but after wasting that opportunity, our team went on to give CSKA the initiative as Ivan Morozov was sent to the penalty box for slashing.
Thankfully, CSKA didn’t make use of that powerplay, but the visitors started to firmly compete on the front foot. All of a sudden, the Muscovites were applying heavy pressure on SKA, and in-form goalkeeper Magnus Hellberg pulled off a series of excellent saves to keep them at bay. His best stop saw the 30-year-old Swede somehow keep Maxim Shalunov off the board at point-blank range.
SKA made a positive start to the second stanza. However, as the period progressed, CSKA rapidly improved and broke the deadlock in the 34th minute of proceedings.
Behind his net, Hellberg inadvertently picked out Brendan Leipsic with his pass, and the latter found Shalunov with his ensuing pass who unleashed a snappy wrister under the glove.
CSKA doubled their money in the final minute of the frame.
As a goalmouth scramble erupted on Hellberg’s crease, Maxim Sorkin managed to bundle it in, with the puck appearing to roll off our goaltender’s back.
Those two goals did indeed prove decisive.
Throughout the subsequent third period, SKA threw everything at CSKA, in particular wasting a golden opportunity on the powerplay. Nevertheless, despite their pressing, SKA didn’t create a large number of chances, and CSKA professionally saw the game out to secure their qualification for the Gagarin Cup final.
SKA - CSKA - 0:2 (0:0, 0:2, 0:0)
0:1 Shalunov (Leipsic), 33.38
0:2 Sorkin (Svetlakov), 38.57
Goalkeepers: Hellberg - Johansson
Shots on target: 30 - 24
Faceoffs: 29 - 24
Hits: 20 - 7
Penalty minutes: 4 - 6
Referees: Gashilov, Naumov
12.04.2021. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.