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Jokerit had been making their winning streak all the way to nine consecutive victories. On Wednesday they had the chance to make it full ten. The Helsinki team got back to their line up Nicklas Jensen, who was suspended for the last game. Also Markus Hännikäinen returned to the line up. Captain Marko Anttila remained out.

Ak Bars Kazan had also been able to put up a five wins streak after they lost a game against Dinamo Minsk. In their most recent game Ak Bars beated Spartak Moscow in a tight match up, with a result 3–1.

The game was the second match up in the regular season for Jokerit and Ak Bars. The first time Ak Bars managed to win in their home game 3–0.

Six players from the visitors had been excluded from the team due to a one positive covid test that was given on Tuesday. Therefore, Ak Bars had to play only with three lines through the game. Also forward Dmitri Katelevsky had to serve as a back-up goaltender.

”We played two periods very well and in the third one we got a bit passive. We had to kill a lot of penalties. The overtime was good and this was a big win for us”, analysed Jokerit head coach Lauri Marjamäki after the game which ended 4–3 in favor of the home team in overtime.

Both teams got to try special forces

Both of the teams started the game strongly and as the all five players on both sides were alert on duty, there weren’t that tough situations on either goal. Anders Lindbäck in the net for the home team and Igor Bobkov for the visitors started the game with solid performance, even though there weren’t too many shots against them.

As the game went on, high pace skating over the neutral zone raised importance. While the game was shifting from end to end, did Jokerit manage to get an offensive zone face-off win. John Norman won the face-off and the puck was delivered to Niklas Friman, who shot the game’s first goal - and his season’s first one.

The opening goal was followed by a penalty for Jokerit. Apart from Dmitri Kagarlitsky’s shot, Ak Bars didn’t get much done. On the other hand Julius Junttila had a good chance on a break-away. Jokerit got their own chance on power play as Ak Bars ruined their own shot a bit too early. Neither the home team capitalized the special forces.

The Danish sniper Jensen got a hit to his face by Alexander Burmistrov, earning another power play for the home team. Iiro Pakarinen’s heavy shot was the closest to beat Bobkov, but the Russian goalie put hid pad on the shot’s way. As Jokerit didn’t score any more goals on their power play, did also the first period run out of time.

Second period was strong for Jokerit

Kirill Petrov took a minor penalty for delaying the game in the last seconds of the first period, so Jokerit received a chance to put up more goals early in the second period. Steven Kampfer blocked Philip Holm’s shot and slowly another power play faded away in the game. Also Jokerit showed their passion to defend, when Ak Bars was pushing on.

The second period was widely interrupted by a lot of breaks, as the puck flew off the boards, players caused offsides or the goaltenders made the clock to stop by covering the puck.

Ak Bars received a huge opportunity with two-man-advantage. David Sklenicka and Norman worked hard to get the puck pressure off Jokerit zone. The home team also solved the rest of the power play on four men on the ice. However, Ak Bars tied the game right after Hannes Björninen had got off the penalty box. The skillful goal was scored by Nikolai Kovalenko.

Jokerit got a good momentum along the period and after a long pressuring shift Friman was in the right place in the right time, scoring his second of the night and giving the lead again to the home team. Jokerit kept up the good work and were close to score their third one, but Bobkov barely stopped the puck.

Not to mention Jokerit was already on the top of the game, but Ak Bars didn’t make their job any easier by taking penalties and losing puck, when trying to get to counter-attacks. Fortune favors the bold. Jokerit got a lucky bounce before the buzzer and Norman was called to be the goal-scorer of the third one for the home team.

Penalties were too much for Jokerit

Ak Bars started well as they tried to reach Jokerit in the battle for the points. Daniil Tarasov was close to score the second goal for the visitors, but the shot went a little wide. However Otto Leskinen was sent to penalty box shortly after, making Jokerit to play short-handed. Veli-Matti Savinanen got a break-away on special forces, but a penalty wasn’t given.

Kagarlisky, who had been one of the best players on the ice, managed to make the game tighter with a goal, once the teams got back playing at even strenght. The visitors were able to take advantage of the moment, when Jokerit became a little bit passive along the third period.

Ak Bars made Jokerit a little bit tired with their long shifts. Lindbäck had to stay constantly ready at the net, when the talented forwards made their ways towards the goal. Just as the game was coming to an end, Jokerit lifted their game up a bit, giving themselves a little more room to breath.

Jokerit got themselves in trouble with a late minor penalties. Playing short-handed Jokerit made a few nice blocks and calmly stayed in front of the possible shots. The second penalty given was a bit on the grey area, as goaltender Lindbäck got one from moving the net preventing Ak Bars to score.

”There was a lot of weird stuff in the third period. We need to check on that later, but I think maybe not everything went as it should’ve”, head coach Marjamäki said to the media.

When playing on five against three power play, created Ak Bars a great passing sequence. Artem Galimov finished the play tying the game only a few minutes before the end buzzer. Lindbäck made sure that the home team got at least one point from the game.

Joensuu’s magic touch won another game

In overtime Jokerit had a great chance to score the game-winning goal, but Pakarinen’s shot flew to Bobkov’s lap. In the high-paced overtime the referees didn’t mind a bit harder acts on the ice – the penalties were no more.

The strong forward Pakarinen awarded a penalty shot, which was attempted by Jesse Joensuu. He got Bobkov to go down to the ice and slided the puck behind him scoring his third goal from penalty shot, keeping the percentage on full 100 for himself.

”This was a good opponent, but we gave a good performance. Coming to third period with 3–1 lead in a nine-game winning streak is a good thing. The third period was a bit broken with the penalties and all, but we stayed calm and got the win", mentioned Joensuu.

The overtime win meant that Jokerit made their winning streak up to full 10 games. The Helsinki team will continue their season at home ice, when they face Severstal Cherepovets on Friday.

”As we were taking penalties in the end, I knew that I wasn’t going to do much else, but the penaltyshot in the game, if it was going to go that far, because I don’t have a role in special forces”, revealed Joensuu about the game-deciding moments.

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