SKA played their third match of the KHL playoffs first round series against HC Vityaz Podolsk. Having won the first two games at home, head coach Oleg Znarok was forced into only one change, replacing the ill Vadim Shipachyov with Jarno Koskiranta in the second line. Mikko Koskinen and Harri Sateri were the starting netminders.
In front of their home supporters, Vityaz made an aggressive start in Podolsk. Mikko Koskinen, who hadn’t had much to do in the opening matches, was called into alert action, pulling off a stunning double stop early on. SKA were relying on counterattacks, however a Vityaz penalty gave our team the perfect opportunity to take the initiative. Patrik Hersley broke the deadlock, smashing a ripper high over Harri Sateri’s glove. That goal helped SKA settle into proceedings, paving the way for our players to create opportunities in Vityaz's zone.
Evgeny Ketov doubled SKA's lead at the start of the second frame, deftly tipping in Patrik Hersley's slapper. Finding themselves in a critical situation, Vityaz turned to violence, provoking SKA’s players into fights. Eventually, they managed to get back in the game: on a two-man advantage, Alexander Nikulin scored a clever goal from a tight angle.
However, SKA weren’t in the mood for playing around. Moments later, the players reinstated the two -goal lead as Roman Rukavishnikov’s hopeful wrist shot found its way past an unsighted Harri Sateri. Throwing everything at SKA, Vityaz left spaces open at the fact, something which you cannot afford to do. Nikita Gusev scored a fourth on the breakaway, completing a flowing play on the slot.
Pavel Datsyuk ended the match as a contest in the third, scoring a classic backhander. Knowing the deal was sealed, SKA took their foot off the gas, giving Vityaz respite. Unfortunately, it resulted in Vityaz grabbing a second: following a horrible ricochet off the boards, Alexei Kopeikin netted at point blank range. They thought that they had got back to within two when Maxim Afinogenov bundled the puck over the line, but after it was waved off for goaltender interference, SKA iced it. Vityaz pulled Harri Sateri for the extra skater, allowing Ilya Kovalchuk to hit the empty net. 6:2, SKA increase the series lead to 3:0!
Vityaz – SKA – 2:6 (0:1, 1:3, 1:2)
0:1 Hersley (Koskiranta, Datsyuk), 10.05
0:2 Ketov (Hersley, Datsyuk), 22.01
1:2 Nikulin (Jerabek), 33.22
1:3 Rukavishnikov (Belov), 35.36
1:4 Gusev (Dadonov, Zubarev), 37.01
1:5 Datsyuk, 42.32
2:5 Kopeikin (Kempe), 52.14
2:6 Kovalchuk (Koskinen, Datsyuk), 59.40
Goalkeepers: Sateri – Koskinen
Shots on target: 31 – 47
Penalty minutes: 27 – 21
Faceoffs: 32 – 39
Hits: 15 – 10
Referees: Ravodin, Buturlin
25.02.2017. Vityaz Ice Palace, Podolsk.