Salavat Yulaev won Sochi in their most recent game straight 3–0, but in total they had taken points from three of their last five games. There are many Finnish players in Salavat Yulaev and Markus Granlund alongside Sakari Manninen had been the most scoring individuals for the Friday’s home team. Although Granlund was absent from the game due to illness. Also for example defenceman Dinar Khafizullin wasn’t able to play.
The match-up on Friday was the first game between Salavat Yulaev and Jokerit. In history the Finnish team had been victorious over their opponent in previous occasions. The game was a duel of two Finnish head coaches as Salavat Yulaev is lead by head coach Tomi Lämsä and Lauri Marjamäki is in charge behind Jokerit bench.
Jokerit weren’t able to get their first win of the week, when Salavat Yulaev got the extra point in overtime. The end score was 3–2.
”The whole tour was pretty much the same, ineffective scrubbing. It shows in how we win shots in every game, but we lack some sharpness. We need to improve a great deal. Although, it was a good comeback from 0–2. We had our chance in the power play in the end, but then we got a weird penatly – and that was it”, said Jokerit head coach Lauri Marjamäki as he summed up the game.
The experienced Canadian managed to score in his return. ”It felt great to be back out there. We got a bit surpriced and left a couple down early. We managed to get a point out of it afterall”, said Grant about his comeback game.
The pace was very high right from the first minutes as both teams rushed towards the offensive zone. Also forechecking was done accordingly and nobody missed out an opportunity to give a hit for the opponent. Yevgeni Lisovets scored the first goal of the game past Anders Lindbäck. The puck took a bounce from Jokeri goaltender’s glove.
Since leaving a little behind, Jokerit were in trouble in their own zone as the skilled Salavat forwards kept the puck deep in the visitors zone. Also Jokerit got their chances in the first period. One of the best ones came to Veli-Matti Savinainen, but he wasn’t able to capitalize in front of the net.
Jokerit got the first power play of the game as Salavat’s captain Grigory Panin was sent to the penalty box. The visitors had a good few shifts playing with the special forces, not closer to score than Iiro Pakarinen’s sharp shot they didn’t get.
Just two minutes before the first intermission Salavat had couple of great scoring chances and from the second one they managed to put the puck to the net. The home team stepped two goals ahead by a goal scored by Nikolai Kulemin.
”We were statically good in the first period, but the result was bad. In the second period we took too many penalties. Some players didn’t get to play much at all”, Marjamäki wondered.
Juha Metsola at the home team’s net had to make an important double-save. The Finn kept his streak going as he hadn’t allowed a single goal in almost 120 minutes. Both teams got almost simultaneous penalties on the last minute of the first period.
The second period began with some four-on-four hockey, but as Nicklas Jensen was sent to the penalty box, Salavat got a special opportunity with a lot of space on the ice. The visitors handled the situation without any bigger issues.
Jokerit got on to the scoreboard, when Grant shot is first goal of the season. The defenceman tricked Salavat’s Manninen and put the puck behind Metsola. In the second period Jokerit improved their game and got the puck more to the offensive zone.
”It was nice to get on a roll. It’s been tough watching and rehabing. Now I am in a good shape and was ready to go”, Grant said.
Through the game Jokerit had been dominant in face-offs, which helped the Helsinki team to determine, what kind of plays they want to put out. On the other hand, penalties like David Sklenicka’s gave Salavat their opportunities to stay in the lead.
Goaltender Lindbäck was keeping Jokerit in the game with his saves during Salavat pressured toughly on special forces. The experienced Geoff Platt was close to score, when he crossed from the side to the net, but The Swedishman put his pads in front.
Jokerit came into the third period with good skating and working attitude. When Salavat was controlling the puck, tried Jokerit their best to forecheck it back to them. For example John Norman showed some real effort behind the net, but afterall couldn’t get away with the puck.
The defencemen were able to support the attacks for the visitors and the possibilty of surprice was always there, when Jokerit ruled the puck in the offensive zone. Panin was forced to take a minor penalty after a very long shift. The power play billowed towards Metsola and as a result Philip Holm tied the game with a solid shot.
The visitors suddenly got an opportunity on power play in the late third period, when Danil Bashkirov hooked Hannes Björninen. Jokerit weren’t able to score the leading goal and once the strenghts were even again, was Turunen sent to the penalty box putting the Helsinki team on short-handed. The home team got a huge rumble right in front of Lindbäck, but somehow the buzzer rang and decided that the regular time ended in even score.
In overtime the Finnish talents of Salavat put up a nice sequence and Manninen got the privilege to shoot the winning-goal into Jokerit net.
”The last penalty was a spectacle. I think Roman Will was good in Chelyabinsk and Metsola was good tonight. We just need to capitalize those scoring chances”, stated Jokerit head coach Marjamäki after the game.
The point that Jokerit got from the overtime loss was their second point of the week. The Helsinki team lost all three matches on their away tour.
”This was a pretty solid game. I liked how we came back and got the game to over time. We did that the second time on this ttrip and we knew that we had it in us. We just need to focus on the beginnings of the games better”, Grant concluded.
Jokerit will return to Helsinki for the next week. Their next game will be on Tuesday at Hartwall Arena, when they play against Neftehimik.