(Lokomotiv leads the series 3-0)
A Staffan Kronwall goal 52 seconds into overtime secured another hard-fought victory for Lokomotiv – and after three one-goal games, the Railwaymen are on the verge of arriving in the Conference Semi-Finals.
Lokomotiv allowed Torpedo to claw back a 0-2 deficit and force the extras, but a penalty on Gennady Stolyarov late in regulation proved costly when Kronwall converted the power play in overtime. It wasn’t a characteristic blue line blast from the Swedish D-man – this time he arrived at the back door to complete the passing move created by Petri Kontiola and Max Talbot. The Torpedo bench immediately appealed to the video review, but to no avail. Loko had its win, Torpedo’s playoff prospects are close to ending.
Earlier, Lokomotiv shaded the first period before going in front at the start of the second. However, there was some controversy over that power play opener. Kontiola’s point shot was always rising, and as the puck was deflected into the net, Talbot’s stick looked unfairly high. However, Talbot didn’t make contact with the puck – Brandon Kozun got the vital, and legal, touch to open the scoring in the game. After twice going behind to Torpedo, Lokomotiv now had the first goal of the game for the first time in the series.
The visitor continued to dominate play but could not extend its lead until early in the third stanza. This time, there were no arguments about the legitimacy of Jakub Nakladal’s goal. Denis Barantsev was penalized for holding, and the subsequent power play lasted just four seconds. That was long enough for Loko to win the face-off, feed Nakladal on the blue line and watch his shot deflect of defenseman Yury Sergiyenko to wrong-foot Stanislav Galimov and make it 2-0.
Up to now, though, the team that scored first had not won a game in this series. Torpedo, mindful of extending that statistic, quickly responded with a power play goal of its own. Tomas Kundratek capitalized on the space left open when both sets of players got caught in an arm-wrestle in the corner; the Czech international had time to set himself for a slap shot from between the hash marks that left Alexei Murygin with no chance.
Torpedo’s attempts to save the game seemed to have been hit after a couple of penalties disrupted the momentum of the game. Indeed, Loko had chances to seal the win – most notably when Kozun spearheaded an odd man rush but failed to convert the opportunity. But the host secured a tying goal with three minutes left, and Sergiyenko atoned for his earlier deflection by smashing a Kaspars Daugavins feed into the top corner through heavy traffic.