(SKA wins the series 4-0)
SKA wrapped up a sweep of Severstal with a 2-0 victory in Cherepovets. Oleg Znarok’s team was given a tough test by its opponent throughout the series, but ultimately demonstrated an extra touch of class in front of goal to secure a comfortable passage to a Conference semi-final, most likely against Lokomotiv.
After finding it tough to put Severstal away in the first three games, SKA looked to take control of this meeting quickly. The Army Men dominated the first period and were good value for their lead. The opening goal came from the Datsyuk-Gusev combination. Pavel brought the puck out from the corner, Nikita was waiting on the doorstep and Datsyuk’s pass presented Gusev with a straightforward chance to beat Julius Hudacek.
Sergei Shirokov got his first goal of this year’s playoffs to make it 2-0 midway through the second period. Anton Belov won the puck in centre ice, Sergei Plotnikov quickly fed it into the Severstal zone and Shirokov streaked clear of the defense to put his team in control of the game.
With eight minutes to play, Severstal believed it had a lifeline after Matej Stransky put the puck in Mikko Koskinen’s net. However, a video review showed that the home team had six men on the ice at the time of the play and the goal was ruled out. That wasn’t the end of Severstal’s chances: the home team had a 5-on-3 power play, and then saw Belov ejected from the game late on for a high hit. But SKA’s penalty kill was solid, and when Stransky took a major for slashing in the 59th minute, Severstal’s hopes were over.