Saint Petersburg (17:00)
Nizhny Novgorod (18:00)
Saint Petersburg (19:30)
Jokerit scored their first two goals of the season in their second match, when they lost to Neftehimik Nizhnekamsk 4–2. Henrik Haapala was still out with injury for Jokerit and Alexei Potapov was not available for Traktor.
The game itself started well for the home team. The strong effort on power play boosted the way to the first win of the season for Jokerit.
"It was great to play in front of home audience after nine months. The national anthem by Pekka Kuivalainen gave us a good start for the game", said Jokerit head coach Lauri Marjamäki after the game in the press conference.
Jokerit got a good chance to take control right from the get-go as they received a power play in the first minute. Iiro Pakarinen stepped up and shot his second goal of the season right from the middle of the offensive zone. Roman Will between the pipes was forceless. Also Traktor got their first power play within the first minutes. After a long pressure the visitors weren’t able to tie the numbers on the scoreboard, even though Teemu Pulkkinen kept Anders Lindbäck awake at his goal with his shots and played actively overall.
Jokerit was seemingly motivated to get a good result from their first home game. Among many good scoring chances Markus Hännikäinen and Jesse Joensuu rushed their way through to the net, but Will was able to stop the puck each time.
Even though the home team was more on the puck in the first period, did Traktor also have their chances. Defencemen Lawrence Pilut and Nick Bailen kept throwing the puck towards Lindbäck time after time. Jokerit had a perfect record in power plays on first period as Pakarinen slapped the puck behind Will on the home team’s second attempt on man advantage a few minutes before the intermission.
Traktor came in to the second period with some attitude, and they pushed the game to the offensive zone. The Russian visitors were not able to tie the game during their good few minutes. Jokerit received the third power play of the night turning the puck possession back to them. As Jokerit did not score another goal on the power play, they lost their 100 % efficiency, still retaining the momentum on the ice.
Traktor kept taking penalties all game long, and Jokerit took their chance. Kalle Kossila sniped his first KHL goal making the score on the board 3–0. The visitor almost got their opening goal in the next shift, when Jokerit was a little unaware in their own zone. Lukas Sedlak got to test Liindbäck’s reflexes.
The three goal lead made Jokerit play a little recklessly causing them mistakes and penalties. Traktor got the game to stay in offensive zone for quite some times, but did not manage to deliver the puck to the net. Jokerit defended the center pretty tightly.
Traktor got another power play right before the 40 minutes buzzer. First the home team was actually closer to score short-handed, when Hannes Björninen hit the post behind Will. Traktor broke the possibility of shutout for Jokerit goaltender Lindbäck as Vitaly Abramov changed the score to 3–1 after a long video review.
Traktor tied to get the game flow towards Jokerit goal, but the first few minutes of the third period were interrupted with a lot of whistles. Neither of the teams seemed to get the full grip on the game. All of a sudden both teams got their opportunity to get another goal, but goaltenders in both ends were sharp and prepared.
When the fourth line of Traktor made their way to the Jokerit zone, the awareness was not at its highest – Andrei Stas managed to get the puck past Lindbäck with onetimer shot. The visitors were about to get the game flow to themselves, when Jokerit captain Marko Anttila stole the puck and catapulted across the rink. A giant in size slammed the puck to the net, giving the home team again a two-goal lead.
"All the things we tried, showed in the first two periods. Also our power play and playing short-handed were pretty good today", Marjamäki stated.
Once the teams got their mind on scoring, shot Traktor their third goal byomas Hyka Tright after Anttila’s goal. The game, which started with confident performance by Jokerit, had turned into a rollercoaster. The Finnish winger Pulkkinen had been hungry all game long and he got his reward in the tying goal. He put the numbers to 4–4 with a world-class slapshot.
"We were supposed to be active and stay on the puck in the third period, but we got passive. The players care a lot, so I think that explains it. We had a few setbacks. Kossila had a great night and we got our our firt victory. It is great", Marjamäki summed up.
There was a short break in the game, because Lindbäck did lose the blade of his skate and it had to be replaced. The operation took that long that the back-up goaltender Janne Juvonen came in for a few minutes. Traktor did not get chances to take advantage of Jokerit unexpectedly playing with a cold goaltender.
Traktor was playing very strongly for the last minutes of the regular time. Jokerit were forced to try to strike back and try to get the winning goal from the single chances they got. When neither of the teams scored a fifth goal, the needed to be settled in overtime. John Norman had a breakaway and a great chance to finish the game. He did not manage to put the puck to the net, but in the following play Kossila got the puck in front of Will - forward’s second goal of the night made Jokerit leave the ice with two points.
Jokerit had lost their first two regular season games, so they wanted to chance their course at home ice. For a long time it seemed that coming back to Helsinki would mark a victorious evening for the team. Traktor got their engine going as the game went on.
"It was a great game from the whole team. We got a three-goal lead in the second period, but we ended up taking penalties. The opponent got goals and got into the game again. Luckily we got the win in the end", said Kossila who was the scorer of the winning goal.
After a massive goal-scoring competition the overtime determined the faith of the third point. Kossila ended the battle with a shot to the roof of the net. All in all he summed 2+2=4 points against Traktor. Jokerit will continue their season on Thursday as they play against Kunlun Red Star.
"KHL seems to be filled with speed and skilled players. These regular season games have been a step forward from the preseason matches. The points are always the most important for the team, but I sure do not complain about the points I score individually".