Producing a calm, intelligent performance, SKA registered a confident 2:0 triumph over Spartak in Moscow to get back to winning ways in the 2021/2022 KHL regular season.
It turned out to be a thoroughly uneventful first period at the Megasport Arena. Not willing to take any risks, the two teams barely created any chances in the opening 20 minutes of play, focusing very much on the tactical aspect of proceedings. As a consequence of our forward Emil Galimov committing tripping, Spartak did have an early powerplay, but they didn’t force SKA goaltender Lars Johansson into any major saves with our skaters defending solidly.
Matvei Michkov, Yaroslav Dyblenko and Mikhail Vorobyov did all have a handful of promising openings for SKA, but their weak attempts were comfortably saved by Spartak goalkeeper Oscar Dansk.
The action certainly improved in the second stanza.
SKA made the breakthrough in the third minute of the period. Completely unchallenged, Spartak defenseman Mikhail Mamkin contrived to lose his footing next to Dansk’s net, Andrei Kuzmenko pounced on the loose puck to pick out the lurking Anton Burdasov, and our number 71 lashed his powerful shot into the net.
That goal forced Spartak to come out of their shell.
In stark comparison to the first period, the hosts were taking risks and applying pressure on our team, forcing Johansson into several wonderful saves and even smacking the crossbar from the blue line. Our goalkeeper did particularly well to deny Dmitry Kugryshev on the powerplay at point-blank range.
SKA were patient and took advantage of their maiden powerplay to double their money in the 37th minute. On the right faceoff circle, Kirill Marchenko took aim, beating Dansk top-shelf with an unstoppable laser.
The third period predictably saw Spartak throw everything at the visiting team.
However, SKA were tactically outplaying the Muscovites, calmly keeping them at bay - with the exception of one cross-checking penalty taken by Mikhail Vorobyov - and even drawing two penalties out of Spartak. Furthermore, Johansson was simply incredible in goal when called upon, making some huge saves in the closing stages to deservedly earn his maiden shutout for SKA.
In the dying seconds, Spartak did pull Dansk in favour of the extra skater, but still they struggled to create clear shooting lanes in our zone.
SKA will now prepare to face Sochi on the road on Thursday. Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.
Spartak - SKA - 0:2 (0:0, 0:2, 0:0)
0:1 Burdasov (Kuzmenko), 22.14
0:2 Marchenko (Falkovsky), 36.56
Goalkeepers: Dansk - Johansson
Shots on target: 30 - 24
Faceoffs: 22 - 23
Hits: 13 - 5
Penalty minutes: 6 - 8
Referees: Belov, Olenin
14.09.2021. Megasport Arena, Moscow.