Dynamo leads the series 3-2
Dynamo moved back ahead in this Moscow subway series thanks to a 4-1 victory over Spartak on home ice. The Blue-and-Whites can wrap up the series on Thursday – but to do so they will have to get a win at Spartak’s arena for the first time in post season.
This game was a slow-burner, but it built up to a lively finale. The last three minutes brought three goals, two of them into an empty Spartak net and the third scored in the seldom seen 6-on-3 format as Spartak threw everything into its search for a way back into contention. There was also a much-debated disallowed goal for the visitor and, not for the first time, a game-winning contribution from the Dynamo first line.
Game five saw both times send out unchanged rosters; neither personnel nor partnerships were amended for this one. And, for a long time, it seemed that familiarity might have changed the entire dynamic of a series rich in incident. The first period finished goalless – the first and only time these teams have failed to score over a 20-minute session. The second saw Spartak generate far more offense, firing 19 shots at Alexander Yeryomenko, but the visitor could not find a way through and was punished late in the stanza.
Dynamo’s strength this season lies in its top line. Throughout the regular season, Jaskin, Petersson and Shipachyov were a force capable of hurting any team. And, after a long wait for a breakthrough in this game, that trio carved out the opening goal exactly two minutes before the second intermission. The team’s leaders circled the Spartak zone with increasing menace, with Shipachyov dropping deep to start the killer play then advancing to the slot to shoot home after Petersson and Jaskin combined behind the net to create a gilt-edged opportunity in front of Nikita Bespalov’s net.
Spartak believed it had an equalizer early in the third. Alexander Yeryomenko went behind his net to retrieve a loose puck, but his colleague Michal Cajkovsky was on the wrong wavelength and the puck when to Ansel Galimov. He wasted no time getting it to the net, where Martins Karsums swept it into the open net. However, Dynamo challenged the goal, claiming the Fyodor Malykhin impeded Yeryomenko as Karsums potted the puck ... and the review upheld the Blue-and-Whites’ complaint.
At the time, it felt like a key moment in the game and that sense was all the stronger a couple of minutes later when the home team doubled its lead. Andrei Alexeyev was the architect, firing in a backhanded pass from the right as two team-mates headed for Bespalov’s net. The puck skipped past Vladislav Yefremov, who went on to distract Bespalov, and dropped for Maxim Afinogenov to shoot a one-timer through the goalies’ pads. That was the veteran forward’s first goal of these playoffs.
There was more to come though, at both ends of the ice. As Spartak pushed for a way back into the game, Dynamo ran into penalty trouble. A 5-on-3 power play saw the Red-and-Whites quickly organize their special team and Patrik Hersley obliged with an emphatic one-timer to make it a one-goal game with almost three minutes left on the clock. But as the power play continued, the visitor sought to gamble by withdrawing Bespalov once again and looking to force the issue in 6-on-4 play. The decision backfired when Alexander Khokhlachyov’s misplaced pass went straight to Igor Polygalov and he had no hesitation in shooting all the way down the ice into the empty net.
It was already clear that this would not be Spartak’s night, but Dynamo was happy to reinforce that point in the last minute when Jaskin, not long out of the sin bin, intercepted another loose pass and dumped a one-timer into the still vacant target from the halfway line to complete the win.