A comfortable home win over Spartak was enough to confirm Torpedo’s place in this year’s playoffs and lift the team to third in the Western Conference. But Jokerit faces a battle to secure a top eight finish after going down at home to a Ben Scrivens-inspired Dinamo Minsk in the day’s other game.
This game went according to form as high-flying Torpedo overwhelmed lowly Spartak to secure a top-eight finish once again.
The first period ended up tied at 1-1, but even then it was clear that the home team was enjoying the better of the game. Torpedo opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Nikolai Zherdev reacted fastest to the rebound from a Evgeny Grachyov shot and in general the host held the initiative. However, Spartak found an equalizer through Konstantin Glazachev barely a minute after Zherdev’s opener.
The middle stanza brought just one goal, with Zherdev putting Torpedo back in front, but the home team took complete control early in the third. Artyom Alyayev scored twice, both on the power play, to make the score 4-1 before Evgeny Mozer added a fifth to chase Markus Svensson from the net with 10 minutes to play. His replacement, 20-year-old Alexander Trushkov, kept Torpedo at bay for the remaining minutes.
A game-winning performance from Ben Scrivens frustrated Jokerit, leaving the Finns with work to do to reach the playoffs.
Going into the game, Jokerit was in eighth place, with 82 points from 54 games, narrowly ahead of ninth-placed Sochi. Victory would put the pressure on the Black Sea team, defeat would offer an opportunity for the Southerners to gain an advantage in the playoff race.
But Scrivens produced a fine goaltending display to frustrate the home team and backstop Dinamo to victory. The Canadian was in top form from start to finish, but particularly impressed early in the third period when he came up big in a Jokerit power play to deny Sakari Salminen, Topi Jaakola and – on three separate occasions – Charles Genoway. In the end, Scrivens made 36 saves to complete his eighth shut-out of the season.
That maintained the lead that Dinamo gained the first period. Fredrik Pettersson opened the scoring on the power play in the 15thminute after moving off the left-hand boards to fire home from the top of the circle. Then Rob Klinkhammer doubled the lead with a short-handed goal in the 19th minute, assisted by the indomitable Scrivens. The goalie made a save from Brian O’Neill, Kirill Gotovets shot the puck up the ice and Klinkhammer got beyond the defense to make it 2-0.
Jokerit’s misery was compounded late on when Roman Graborenko added an empty-net goal to wrap up the win for Dinamo. The Belarusians move on to 90 points, 10 points above Sochi.