In Moscow, SKA played against HC Spartak for the second match of this KHL away series. Head coach Oleg Znarok kept forward Andrei Altybarmakyan in the fourth line, while Alexander Barabanov took his place in the first with Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk. Mikko Koskinen and Nikita Bespalov were the starting netminders.
Undefeated in the current KHL camapign, SKA were brimming with confidence before this game. To our delight, the players made the perfect start against Spartak - Patrik Hersley opened the scoring with a trademark one timer. Buoyed by that goal, SKA went on to dominate against a slow Spartak team. Viktor Tikhonov doubled SKA's money at the end of the period, lashing in a slap shot when alone on the left faceoff circle.
Spartak made a goalkeeping change for the second period, pulling Nikita Bespalov in favour of Markus Svensson. Viktor Komarov and Andrei Nikontsev both had glorious chances to get the Moscow outfit on the board, but they failed to beat Mikko Koskinen at point blank range. Predticably, those misses proved to be crucial. Nikita Gusev had a goal ruled off after the net's moorings were knocked off by the goalkeeper, but Ilya Kovalchuk scored on the ensuing powerplay. The same player then doubled his tally in the game, thumping a firm wrist shot between the goalkeeper's pads.
Holding a comfortable advantage, SKA calmly kept Spartak on the outside during the third period. The hosts did have a few powerplay opportunities, however they failed to make Mikko Koskinen work. In the final minute, SKA sealed the deal - pouncing on a juicy rebound, Dinar Khafizullin stroked the puck into the gaping left corner. Mikko Koskinen held on to his first shutout of the 2017/2018 KHL season, seeing SKA through to a 5:0 triumph against Spartak Moscow!
Spartak - SKA - 0:5 (0:2, 0:2, 0:1)
0:1 Hersley (Tikhonov, Ketov), 07.05
0:2 Tikhonov (Plotnikov, Ketov), 19.47
0:3 Kovalchuk (Plotnikov, Gusev), 27.39
0:4 Kovalchuk (Datsyuk, Barabanov), 38.33
0:5 Khafizullin (Prokhorkin, Gusev), 59.09
Goalkeepers: Bespalov/Svensson - Koskinen
Shots on target: 19 - 42
Penalty minutes: 8 - 6
Faceoffs: 20 - 29
Hits: 13 - 13
Referees: Gashilov, Belov
04.09.2017. VTB Ice Palace, Moscow.