In Moscow, SKA came up short against CSKA in their first meeting of the 2020/2021 KHL regular season, conceding a battling 1:3 defeat.
CSKA, aiming to get back on track after two successive defeats on the road, made the breakthrough within seven minutes after a cautious start. Following a lucky ricochet, the puck fell at the stick of Mikhail Naumenkov on the left faceoff circle, who lashed his rising wrister beyond the stricken Magnus Hellberg. In what was a tense, rather slow first period of play, CSKA largely held the initiative and Igor Ozhiganov prevented the hosts from scoring a second when making a vital deflection with Hellberg already beaten.
Nevertheless, SKA did improve towards the end of the frame, equalising on the powerplay through Kirill Marchenko on the doorstep. Immediately after that goal, our players were prompty gifted a two-man advantage by CSKA, but opposing goalkeeper Alexander Sharychenkov refused to be beaten in the ensuing 120 seconds.
Unfortunately, instead of building on that momentum, SKA contrived to produce a thoroughly disappointing second period in the Russian capital.
Failing to control the puck, our team allowed CSKA to pile on the pressure, with the hosts spending over seven minutes in our zone and unleashing 19 shots on target during the frame. For the most part, Hellberg confidently dealt with the danger by displaying excellent reactions on a regular basis, but he was eventually beaten in the 38th minute as Konstantin Okulov hit the jackpot with a whipped wrist shot on the powerplay.
Lightning struck twice in the fourth minute of the third period.
On another powerplay, Okulov once again struck gold for CSKA, thumping an unstoppable effort over the left shoulder of Hellberg. After that goal, SKA did eventually begin to start pressing CSKA with intent and energy, consequently carving out a handful of chances. The best of the opportunities was missed by Anton Burdasov as the forward somehow missed the target with the goal gaping.
In the closing minutes, Hellberg was pulled for the extra skater, but it made little difference as CSKA held on to win 3:1. SKA will now prepare to host Vityaz Podolsk at the Saint Petersburg Ice Palace on Monday, with puck drop scheduled for 19:30 local time.
CSKA - SKA - 3:1 (1:1, 1:0, 1:0)
1:0 Naumenkov (Slepyshev, Samorukov), 07.28
1:1 Marchenko (Bengtsson, Vey), 16.11
2:1 Okulov (Rykov, Shalunov), 37.54
3:1 Okulov (Rykov, Shalunov), 43.20
Goalkeepers: Sharychenkov - Hellberg
Shots on target: 38 - 19
Faceoffs: 30 - 30
Hits: 1 -9
Penalty minutes: 15 - 11
Referees: Romasko, Sidorenko
16.10.2020. CSKA Arena, Moscow.