(Lokomotiv leads the series 2-0)
Jokerit’s goal drought is threatening to crush its playoff hopes almost before post season gets started. The Finns failed to score on Lokomotiv in 60 minutes of hockey last time out, going down to a solitary goal from Maxim Osipov on Wednesday. Today, putting the puck in the net continued to be a problem, with the Railwaymen keeping their goal intact until for a second game in a row.
There wasn’t much to choose between the teams for much of the game, but when it came to the final touch, Lokomotiv had a clear advantage. Andre Petersson led the way with two goals and was part of the odd-man rush that led to Vladimir Tkachyov making it 3-0 at the start of the third period, while Eddie Pasquale took his unbeaten run to 120 playoff minutes, making a further 23 saves in the game.
The action started slowly, but Lokomotiv was gradually making its presence felt in the game by the time Petersson opened the scoring late in the first period. Tkachyov’s pace stretched the Jokerit defense and his pass set up the Swede for a one-timer that ripped past Anders Lindback. However, the thrill of opening the scoring possibly got Petersson a bit over-excited: twice in the final moments of the first period, the goalscorer got into skirmishes. First he battled Tommi Kivisto, then he tangled with Niklas Jensen after the hooter.
That incident, provoked by Jensen firing a shot at Pasquale after the end of the period, saw Petersson take a 2+2 and left Loko on the PK at the start of the second. However, the home team killed that with few alarms as Jokerit’s offense continued to fire blanks. There were some half chances for the Finns — a Peter Regin one-timer that flashed wide, a close-range effort from Jordan Schroeder that also went the wrong side of the post — but Pasquale was not over-extended even as the Finns looked to get back into the game. And midway through the second frame, Petersson struck again, arriving at the back door and applying the finishing touch to a fine pass from Rushan Rafikov.
Early in the third, Loko took complete control of the game — and possibly the series — with three unanswered goals in the space of 10 minutes. The first came from the first meaningful attack of the session, with Yegor Korshkov spinning off the boards to release Tkachyov. He had the option of setting up Petersson for a hat-trick, but used his team-mate as a decoy and scored himself. The Loko captain then got his second of the game after exchanging passes with Petersson and scoring with a deflection shot. That meant a Gordie Howe hat-trick for Petersson.
By now, Jokerit was falling away. A defensive error in the corner saw Artur Kayumov steal the puck and set up Teemu Pulkkinen for a one-timer to make it 5-0. The remainder of the game was dominated by fouls and minors skirmishes as, with the result beyond doubt, Jokerit’s players had few other outlets for their frustration. A fight between Kayumov and Viktor Loov was the main talking point of the closing stages as Loko closed out the win.
Jokerit’s task does not get much easier. Theoretically, it is the home team for the next two games in this series. However, due to Finland’s coronavirus restrictions, the team will remain in Yaroslavl for the entire series, ceding home ice advantage to an opponent that already had plenty in its favor in this match-up.
(CSKA leads the series 2-0)
CSKA’s forwards found their form in game two of this series and after the goaltending duel of Wednesday’s opener, that extra firepower made all the difference.
However, the fans in Moscow had another goalless period to endure before the scoring started. True, CSKA had the puck in the net in the first minute of this game when Sergei Andronov screened Julius Hudacek as Pavel Karnaukhov shot home a backhander. However, a video review spotted an offside in the play, and the game remained goalless.
That reprieve inspired a period of cautious hockey, with the teams managing just nine shots on goal between them. CSKA had the advantage, 6-3, but defenses were very much on top at the first intermission.
It all changed at the start of the second when Spartak fluffed a line change and CSKA got a power play. Mat Robinson’s slap shot was touched beyond Hudacek by Andrei Loktionov and the series had its first goal in regulation time action.
Spartak hit back late in the second period with a power play goal. Dmitry Vishnevsky’s point shot got past Lars Johansson and his team had its first marker of the playoffs. However, there was a rapid response when Klas Dahlbeck produced a similar point shot of his own to restore CSKA’s lead before the second intermission.
The Red-and-Whites’ problems continued at the start of the third, initially with a penalty to kill and then with a third CSKA goal. Konstantin Okulov and Maxim Mamin combined effectively down the right-hand channel before Maxim Shalunov — scorer of the gamewinner last time out — slid the puck home from close range as Vishnevsky stumbled in front of the net.
Midway through the third, Brendan Leipsic eliminated any doubt about the outcome when he skated onto Alexander Popov’s pass, evaded a desperate lunge in center ice and comprehensively beat Julius Hudacek with a de facto penalty shot. Then in the last minute, the Okulov-Shalunov-Mamin combination had the final say, with Mamin wrapping up a convincing win.