The Army derby in St. Petersburg pitted the top two teams in the Western Conference together – and the summit clash did not disappoint as SKA edged CSKA 4-3.
In a game rich in subtexts, Vyacheslav Bykov faced his former club for the first time as SKA chief, while team Russia stars Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Radulov went head-to-head in an eager-awaiting confrontation.
Both of them made a huge contribution, but surprisingly neither played a role in SKA’s winner, scored with little over seven minutes to play.
Instead Artemy Panarin got the decisive strike, a goal worthy of winning any game. He collected Alexander Kadeikin’s defense-splitting past, held off Nikita Zaitsev’s attention and launched an unstoppable wrist shot that beat Stanislav Galimov on the top shelf.
It was the first time SKA had gone ahead on the night, and the first goal scored without a Kovalchuk contribution. The KHL’s leading point scorer added 2+1 to his tally to help his team recover from 1-3.