In a pulsating battle, SKA completed a scintillating two-goal comeback against CSKA in Moscow, earning a memorable 3:2 victory on the road in the 2022/2023 KHL regular season.
Our team wasted two excellent opportunities within the first few minutes.
With the goalkeeper out of position for CSKA, Alexander Volkov blasted wide of the gaping right corner, before Dmitrij Jaskin couldn’t lift the puck over Adam Reideborn after pouncing on a rebound.
Those misses were promptly punished by CSKA on the powerplay in the eighth minute.
After Zakhar Bardakov had failed to clear the puck in a seemingly easy situation, Konstantin Okulov took aim from the right flank and beat Dmitry Nikolaev with a stinging drive.
Nikolaev had to make a series of difficult saves throughout the remainder of the period. On the front foot, the fired-up hosts were piling the pressure on SKA, protecting the puck inside our zone and taking aim from any angle.
For our part, three powerplays wastefully came and went without creating any clear chances.
CSKA continued playing with the initiative in the second stanza, doubling their advantage in the 26th minute on another powerplay following a spell of intense pressure.
Alone at the blue line, Nikita Nesterov took aim and gave Nikolaev no chance with his blast.
The Muscovites were in charge for the entirety of the period. Thanks to their incessant pressing across the ice, they barely allowed our players to spend any time inside their zone whatsoever, protecting Reideborn in their net and often testing Nikolaev when in attack.
SKA were in trouble. However, with only 31 seconds remaining in the frame, Daniil Pylenkov halved the deficit with a vital goal.
Unmarked on the right faceoff circle, the 22-year-old defenseman ripped an unstoppable one-timer beyond the stranded Reideborn.
That goal certainly gave SKA a well-needed boost. Nevertheless, that setback didn’t seem to have bothered CSKA at all, as the home team came out with all guns blazing for the third period.
Under severe pressure, SKA couldn’t clear their lines on a number of occasions. Nikolaev – who made a grand total of 41 saves in the match – was the only player keeping the visiting team in with a chance, pulling off wonderful stops to keep CSKA at bay.
Those saves proved to be vital.
Out of nothing, SKA got back on level terms with five minutes remaining in the stanza.
Having escaped his marker on the left, Marat Khairullin launched a huge attempt into the far corner. Initially, it appeared that the puck had hit the crossbar, but it had in fact crossed the line.
Overtime was indeed required. Predictably, CSKA head coach Sergei Fyodorov opted to pull Reideborn in favour of the extra skater, but that decision came back to bite him.
Maxim Groshev secured our dramatic triumph, stealing possession with tenacity and calmly shooting into the empty net. In the preceding play, Mikhail Grigorenko had struck the left post for CSKA.
SKA will now prepare to play against Spartak away from home on Wednesday. Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time at the Megasport Arena.
CSKA – SKA – 2:3 OT (1:0, 1:1, 0:1, 0:1)
1:0 Okulov (Plotnikov, Nesterov), 07.53 PPG
1:1 Nesterov (Okulov), 26.15 PPG
2:1 Pylenkov (Pedan), 39.29
2:2 Khairullin (Zhafyarov, Pylenkov), 55.32
2:3 Groshev, 62.33 EN
Goalkeepers: Reideborn – Nikolaev
Shots: 74 – 62
Shots on target: 43 – 29
Faceoffs: 28 – 31
Hits: 26 – 20
Blocked shots: 21 – 20
Penalty minutes: 8 – 10
Referees: Birin, Romasko
Linesmen: Antonov, Shishlo
03.10.2022. CSKA Arena, Moscow.