Avtomobilist had won only one of their last five games. In the most recent match they defeated Avangard 5–2. Ryan Spooner and Brooks Macek scored two goals each in that victorious game. The home team of the match-up had made their way on the fifth spot in the Eastern conference.
The game between Avtomobilist and Jokerit was their first match-up in this regular season. Looking in to history, both teams had been able to take points from one another pretty evenly.
On Wednesday there wasn’t anything even on the ice as the home team dominated throughout the game.
”We forgot the meaning of preparation. We all were lousy today, from coach to players. Not much has to change in order to get ourselves back on track”, said Jokerit head coach Lauri Marjamäki briefly after the match.
The home team got a great start for the game as Jesse Blacker shot a heavily from the blueline towards the net. It first seemed that Georgy Belousov got his stick on the way, but at first the goal was given to the defenceman, who represents Kazakstan. Belousov was announced to be the scorer later in the game. Stephane Da Costa received an assist to the quick goal.
Jokerit got their game together and the puck started to flow also towards Avtomobilist net, which was guarded by Vladimir Galkin. Iiro Pakarinen had two shots in one shift against Galkin, but the puck didn’t go in the net even when Veli-Matti Savinainen tried to push it with some force.
A lot of time in the first period was spent in the neutral zone as the teams tried to get their attacks going in an organized way. The teams defended well and were able to make the opponents move along the boards – not straight to the net.
Avtomobilist were able to grow their lead to two goals, when the puck was played to the defenceman Nikita Tryamkin, who shot a heavy shot beating Janne Juvonen at Jokerit net. After a short while the home team lead already by three goals as Vladimir Kuznetsov scored.
That was enough for Juvonen, who skated off the ice after stopping nine pucks. Anders Lindbäck came in just before the first intermission.
”We were very bad today in the first priod and it showed directions to the whole game. We left behind and even we did better in the end of the second period and in the beginning of the third period, but it’s not enough, if you start like the way we did today”, analyzed forward Markus Hännikäinen.
Jokerit started the second period well. David Sklenicka and John Norman had a good chance to get the visitors on the scoreboard, but Galkin managed to get something on the pucks way. The goaltender also kicked the net off its place and that wasn’t noticed by the referees in over a minute.
The visitors got some long runs in the offensive zone and the shots were fired towards Avtomobilist net. Defencemen Petteri Lindbohm and Philip Holm made their presence known on th ice as they used their shot and ability to cross the ice.
Lindbäck in Jokerit net didn’t have much to work on in the first half of the second period as the visitors kept the puck control or the shots sent by Avtomobilist players were blocked or they flew to the rafters. Brian O’Neill hit the post of Avtomobilst net, but that didn’t count – Jokerit remained in zero goals.
Galkin was the man of the hour stopping also Nicklas Jensen’s attempt, but a lucky bounce gave Jokerit their first goal. Lindbohm shot towards the net and Hännikäinen did a good screen for the goal. Afterall, the goal was marked to forward Hännikäinen.
The visitors got the momentum for the rest of the period and Jesse Joensuu was close to make it 2–3, but Galkin didn’t let him. The second intermission began after a long shift with non-stop play.
”We got energy from the goal and we had many good shifts in the offensive zone. We played there our own style of hockey, as we were been playing. We couldn’t score the important goal to 2-3. They also got to forecheck too easily and we let them too easily to leave their own zone, especially in the first half of the game”, Hännikäinen said.
The first penalty of the game was given in the early third period as Jokerit defenceman Holm was sent to the penalty box. The power play sequence was working fluently, but Jokerit didn’t allow a goal to happen yet. Just after the minor penalty was over, Blacker got the puck to a good shooting post and used his heavy shot. Lindbäck wasn’t able to do much, when the puck flew past him into the net – giving Avtomobilist a secure 4–1 lead.
Jokerit got their first power play opportunity and the visitors got some kind of a pressure into the offensive zone. However, Avtomobilist were able to get rid of the puck once in a while and Jokerit didn’t get on the scoreboard playing in special forces. Pakarinen’s heavy shot made Galkin hurt himself a little bit, but the goaltender was able to keep on playing.
Once the gates of the penalty boxes were opened, the special forces were up almost all the time in the first half of the third period. Jokerit got some shots towards the net on their second attempt, but Galkin kept showing phenomenally solid perfomance.
Avtomobilist were very close to score their fifth, when Alexei Vasilevsky got to a breakaway straight from the penalty box, but Lindbäck was able to put his pads in front of the attempt. Still, the home team kept on taking penalties. That gave Jokerit a chance to try scoring with six skaters on the ice by taking the goaltender off the ice. Jordan Schroeder shot heavily, but didn’t capitalize.
The last minutes of the game went by without too many remarkable events on the ice. Only Belousov got to put the puck one more time in Jokerit net, making the final score 5–1 in favor of the home team.
Jokerit losing to Avtomobilist means that the point-streak ended after twelve games. The winning-streak already ended a game before.
Before getting back to Helsinki Jokerit will play one more game on their tour as they will compete against Ufa on Friday.
”We did good things in the third period, but not well enough. We shouldn’t change anything, but continue playing the way we have agreed on. In the beginning we didn’t do anything according to the game plan today. There are no teams in this league, who we wouldn’t be able to win”, Hännikäinen concluded.