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Before Thursday’s game, Jokerit were in four-game slide of consecutive losses. In their first game of the week on Tuesday they were close to take it to over time against Neftehimik, but the late game-winning goal decided the game in favor of the visitors.

Sibir on the other hand had had won three of their five most recent games. Still the team hasn’t been able to put up huge numbers on the scoreboard, but the wins have come or gone thanks to the goaltending. On the two match-ups that Jokerit and Sibir had last season, the Helsinki team managed to win both of them.

Jokerit were on the third place of their conference and Sibir on the ninth spot on the other conference. The situation meant that both teams were still on the run for the playoffs.

Sibir were in the lead until Jokerit got their game going on in the third period. The home team could send a thank you card to their opponents, as they helped a lot by taking a lot of penalties in the beginning of the third period. Jokerit got the points with the result 4–3.

”Team came into the game very well, we were very good in the first period. In the second period we didn’t get our powe play going and we got into trouble in form of two setback goals. In the recent games we have been chasing the score a lot, so tonight the team showed character to come from behind. I suppose this was deserved win.” said Jokerit head coach Lauri Marjamäki as a conclusion to the game.

Jokerit got the first goal

Unlike in a few previous games, Jokerit didn’t allow a quick goal into their own net. On the contrary, the home team got a chance to play on power play in the early first period. Brian O’Neill and his special forces line up were active in the offensive zone, but weren’t able to capitalize.

As Sibir received another penalty within the first minutes of the game, it was relatively easy for Jokerit to keep the control of the game. Even though the power play’s didn’t bring the opening goal, but shortly after the teams got back to even strenght, Jokerit captain Marko Anttila used his heavy wrister to put the puck past Anton Krasotkin.

The home team got a good boost from the goal and David Sklenicka was close to score after getting away from Sibir’s defence. Krasotkin managed to stop the puck that was sliding across the ice. The Czech defenceman also showed his tackling skill in the neutral zone.

Jokerit dominated the events on the ice through the first period and goaltender Janne Juvonen was able to mostly relax at his work post. He didn’t have to make any decisive stops. When Sibir was let to the offensive zone, Jokerit defence made the needed effort in the corners in order to prevent the opponent from crossing to the net.

Pretty much out of the blue Sibir were able to tie the game. Alex Grant didn’t do a good job in blocking the shot and Alexander Sharov was able to surprice Juvonen – the goal was still a bit for the goaltender to blame. The first intermission began with an even score 1–1.

The lightning did strike twice

Sibir started the second period well and Juvonen was forced to make a couple of good saves. The visitors were able to break into the scoring zone as Jokerit were lacking a bit of determination in a few shifts. Jokerit got their game back on track after some minutes and Julius Junttila was close to steer the puck into the net, but Krasotkin was ready and caught it.

Once Jokerit got to play some power play, they got the momentum back to themselves. The two minutes on man-advantage weren’t that efficient, but Sibir couldn’t catch the puck. However, the defenceman Denis Bodrov was able to challenge Juvonen from a breakway and that event turned the fortune on the ice.

Sibir took the advantage of the moment, when Jokerit were in an unstable condition. First Oleg Li put the puck into the home team’s net – and only 23 seconds later Sharov scored his second of the night, giving the visitors a two-goal lead. That was the time, when Anders Lindbäck came in to Jokerit net, sending Juvonen to watch the rest of the match from the bench. Captain Anttila also took a reckless penalty in the aftermath of the setback goals.

”Pretty many weird goals. On Tuesday’s game there were many of them. Lately the opponent’s effciency has been higher than the usual. Even today we aimed to give the opponent no chances, but we gave four and they scored three goals from them. Usually, when we let some easier goals we tend to get overly supportive”, Marjamäki said.

Thanks to a power play, Jokerit stepped up towards the end of the second period. Henri Ikonen got to a breakway, but the referees called it of due to an offside. The period concluded in a situation, in which Niklas Friman’s slapshot defeated Krasotkin in the last minute, but Sibir’s coach challenged the goal. It seemed that Jokerit forward Ikonen was on goaltender’s area, but the call stayed.

”It’s nice to score. As a defenceman don’t have the role on poper play, so I get only a few chances. I’ve gained some confidence to shoot and the puck has found its way to the net as well”, Friman mentioned after the game.

”I got to admit that the goal came to a good spot. The second period was challenging. The goal was reviewed a long time and even the screen at our bench showed some zigzag like in the tv from the old days. After the goal it was way better to go to the intermission and on to the third period”, the defenceman wondered.

Sibir asked for trouble

Jokerit once again had a chance on man-advantage in the beginning of the third period, but the home team couldn’t form any sequences in the offensive zone. Only Philip Holm got to shoot a few times towards Krasotkin – the puck stopped to the block made by the visitors.

Perhaps Sibir used some kind of strange mental strategy against Jokerit, but they gave the home team another power play in the first minutes of the period – and that was a chance Jokerit didn’t miss. Schroeder shot and Veli-Matti Savinainen stood in front of Krasotkin, while making the puck go into the net. The two-goal scorer Sharov took Sibir’s third minor penalty on the first ten minutes of the third period. The same guy received another order to the penalty box later in the period as well.

”I don’t remember from my career such game that my teams was given this much power play. It sure makes the shifts uneven, but everybody needs to be ready to jump in, when the time comes”, thought Friman about the events.

Sklenicka shot to the post, which was an indication of what was going on in the game. Jokerit kept the control that they received in the end of the second period, when Friman scored the apparently important goal. Also Iiro Pakarinen had an opportunity to put Jokerit to lead, but Krasotkin stood strong. As Sibir kept taking penalties time after time, did Jokerit eventually score and take the lead. Nicklas Jensen made the play to the net and Hannes Björninen made the deciding move in order to make the score to change.

After taking plenty of penalties, Sibir didn’t get their game together anymore. Jokerit were able to defend their lead wisely and keep the opponent away from scoring chances. The win ended the losing-streak for the Helsinki team.

Tomorrow is another game

As Sibir lost their patience in the third period, were Jokerit given a path to the win. Of course the home team still had to play the remaining minutes well – and that was what they did. Lindbäck had to make only one massive save to secure the result in the last minutes of the game.

Jokerit will face SKA from Saint Petersburg already on tomorrow evening, when one of the best groups of the whole KHL comes to Helsinki.

”I am waiting for tomorrow. It’s great that we got a win after a difficult game. It’s nicer to get towards tomorrow now. It can be sensed from the atmosphere, that a big game is coming”, concluded Friman.

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