Andy Potts Andy Potts
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The playoff second round pairings are complete — Metallurg wrapped up its series against Barys in game six to claim the fourth and final place in the Eastern Conference. Now the Steelmen go forward to a conference semi-final clash with Avangard, while top seed Ak Bars can prepare for a Green Derby clash with Salavat Yulaev.

Barys Nur-Sultan 3 Metallurg Magnitogorsk 5 (0-0, 2-2, 1-3)

(Metallurg wins the series 4-2)

There were few changes to the rosters for this game. Yury Mikhailis had few options available to him with several candidates unavailable and refrained from the switch that might have seen Henrik Karlsson start in place of Joni Ortio. Metallurg did swap goalies, with Juho Olkinuora returning in place of Vasily Koshechkin.

Photo: 12.03.21. KHL Championship 2020-2021. Playoffs. Barys (Nur-Sultan) - Metallurg (Magnitogorsk)

However, Barys did look to change up its style of play. In this series, whenever Metallurg got to play on the front foot, it won convincingly. Therefore, the instructions were clear — take the game to the opposition. After killing an early penalty, the home team did just that and it Olkinuora had the more uncomfortable first period. However, the Finn dealt with everything that came his way and not even a minute of 5-on-3 power play could bring the Kazakh team a breakthrough.

A power play early in the second period gave Metallurg the chance to forge ahead. Grigory Dronov’s point shot was batted down by Semyon Koshelev on the slot, leaving Ortio unable to react. The officials wanted to check whether Koshelev’s stick was high but eventually ruled it a good goal.

That ushered in a frame full of back-and-forth action. Barys tied the scores after 33 minutes when Linus Videll circled out of the corner and looked to play a diagonal pass to Curtis Valk at the back door. The pass never got there — a deflection off Andrej Nestrasil’s stick took the puck past Olkinuora and into the net. However, with Metallurg’s power play getting hot, the visitor regained the lead when Darren Dietz sat for interference. Taylor Beck found Dennis Rasmussen on the slot, and the Swede had the technique to outwit Ortio and make it 2-1. That was Rasmussen’s 100th point in the KHL.

Barys continued to threaten, though, and 15 seconds before the hooter we had a big moment when the home team tied the scores. This time, Videll turned provider as he broke down the right channel and set up Nikita Mikhailis for a shot that went in off the post to tie the game.

Early in the third, boosted by its first power play since that unsuccessful 5-on-3 back in the opening session, Barys had two great chances to take the lead for the first time as both Mikhailis and Videll went close. Those misses proved costly: Metallurg got a double power play of its own and, despite playing just 14 seconds of 5-on-3, managed to turn a two-man advantage into a goal. Beck was the architect once again, swinging a cross-ice pass into Sergei Mozyakin’s path and the Magnitka captain did the rest with a one-timer. And the visitor’s PP delivered once again five minutes before the end, with Beck getting a goal to go with his two assists and put the game beyond Barys’ reach.

That was not quite the end of the story. In the closing moments the team traded two more goals. Kirill Panyukov’s seventh point of the playoffs converted a Barys power play with three minutes left to give the home team hope. Sergei Plotnikov was the Metallurg player in the box at the time, and he redeemed himself by potting an empty net goal to decide both game and series with 90 seconds on the clock.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
exclusive for khl.ru

Related clubs

Barys (Nur-Sultan) Barys (Nur-Sultan)
Metallurg (Magnitogorsk) Metallurg (Magnitogorsk)
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