In the third match of the third round of the 2020/2021 KHL Gagarin Cup playoffs third round, SKA couldn’t get the better of CSKA Moscow at home, conceding a 2:5 defeat to go 0-3 down in the series.
In Moscow, SKA couldn’t score a single goal against CSKA’s goalkeeper Lars Johansson, but our players only required 78 seconds to beat the experienced Swede at home.
Lurking on the doorstep, Evgeny Timkin connected with a clever pass across the slot, knocking it into the left corner to give SKA the perfect start.
A frantic opening period of play saw the two teams compete at a furious tempo. Having earned two powerplays during the frame, CSKA tested Alexander Samonov on nine occasions with our goaltender saving every one of their attempts, while SKA also had an opportunity to play on the man-advantage and came close to doubling their money through Andrei Kuzmenko on the slot.
Samonov did particularly well to deny Anton Slepyshev and Maxim Mamin in the SKA net, with CSKA displaying their usual intense, aggressive approach.
However, as SKA got into serious penalty trouble at the start of the second period, CSKA went on to score three consecutive goals within four disastrous minutes.
Slepyshev completed a flowing play on the slot on the powerplay, Mamin deflected John Gilmour’s effort in, and Maxim Shalunov sent a thunderous one-timer into the far corner when completely unmarked on the right faceoff circle.
SKA head coach Valeri Bragin made the call to pull Samonov in favour of Magnus Hellberg following the third CSKA marker.
Interestingly, CSKA went on to commit three fouls in a row towards the end of the stanza, but Johansson stood firm in their net with Malte Stromwall, Anton Burdasov and Linden Vey particularly threatening for SKA.
In truth, SKA barely threatened in the ensuing third period as CSKA continued to firmly keep the door shut, but Igor Ozhiganov gave our team a glimmer of hope with a little less than four minutes remaining on the clock.
After escaping the attention of the CSKA defence, Ozhiganov managed to force the puck over the line to get SKA back to within one.
In the final two minutes, Bragin pulled Hellberg for the extra skater twice, but that only resulted in Mat Robinson and Konstantin Okulov hitting the empty net.
The fourth game of the series will be played on Thursday at the Ice Palace. Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.
SKA - CSKA - 2:5 (1:0, 0:3, 1:2)
1:0 Timkin (Kamenev, Dyblenko), 01.18
1:1 Slepyshev (Loktionov, Soshnikov), 23.32
1:2 Mamin (Gilmour, Blazhievskiy), 25.10
1:3 Shalunov (Gilmour, Okulov), 27.24
2:3 Ozhiganov (Galimov, Vey) 56.12
2:4 Robinson, 58.19
2:5 Okulov (Kiselevich, Slepyshev), 59.42
Goalkeepers: Samonov/Hellberg - Johansson
Shots on target: 27 - 26
Faceoffs: 27 - 28
Hits: 15 - 10
Penalty minutes: 8 - 8
Referees: Olenin, Hribik
06.04.2021. Ice Palace, Saint Petersburg.