In the second match of the 2020/2021 KHL Gagarin Cup playoffs third-round series, SKA once again couldn’t hit the target, conceding a disappointing 0:2 defeat to CSKA Moscow on the road to go 0-2 down overall.
The two teams immediately made an aggressive start inside the CSKA Arena. Competing with confidence and strength, SKA held the majority of possession during the opening frame, often causing major problems for the CSKA defence with our third line consisting of Vasily Podkolzin, Ivan Morozov and Kirill Marchenko particularly lively. The latter did have a handful of promising opportunities to open the scoring.
For their part, CSKA were mainly relying on counter-attack chances, and SKA goaltender Alexander Samonov had to be at his best to deny Klas Dahlbeck and Maxim Mamin following defensive errors. It’s worth pointing out that SKA landed seven hits compared to CSKA’s zero in the first period.
CSKA, though, broke the deadlock within the first two minutes of the second stanza, as Maxim Shalunov caught Samonov cold when taking aim from the right wing.
That goal gave the hosts the impetus to begin applying overwhelming pressure on SKA. In stark comparison to the first period, CSKA were constantly calling Samonov into action, with our goalkeeper pulling off several fantastic saves at point-blank range to keep SKA in the game. CSKA’s second line of Konstantin Okulov, Shalunov and Mamin was creating chances at will, as the away defence struggled to keep them at bay.
Nevertheless, a late powerplay in the frame gave SKA a well-needed chance to turn the tide, and Johansson made a few tricky stops to protect CSKA’s advantage.
SKA did indeed earn a further two powerplays in the ensuing third period. However, with Johansson in simply unstoppable form, CSKA somehow managed to hold on, with the home goalkeeper producing wonderful saves to keep the likes of Vladimir Tkachyov and Ivan Morozov off the board.
In the closing moments, SKA head coach Valeri Bragin used his time-out and pulled Samonov for the extra skater, but that only resulted in Okulov hitting the empty net.
The next game will take place in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday. Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time.
CSKA - SKA - 2:0 (0:0, 1:0, 1:0)
1:0 Shalunov (Okulov, Mamin), 21.06
2:0 Okulov (Slepyshev), 59.53
Goalkeepers: Johansson - Samonov
Shots on target: 24 - 27
Faceoffs: 24 - 27
Hits: 2 - 13
Penalty minutes: 8 - 2
Referees: Romasko, Sidorenko
04.04.2021. CSKA Arena, Moscow.