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Jokerit had travelled to the capital city of Kazakstan for the second match-up of the regular season against Barys Nur-Sultan. The Helsinki team had spent the last few games on tour and on their most recent game they defeated Sibir 2–0.

Barys also had their last experiences of regular season games from east coast. They took the points from both Admiral and Amur. In total the Kazakh team had netter 23 points in 25 games and they were on seventh spot in the eastern conference of the KHL.

The history between these two teams showed that usually the visiting team had been on the winning side of the able, but in the last game in September Jokerit won after a penalty shootoout series in Helsinki.

In the game itself Jokerit managed to take the lead and maintain the position throughout the periods. Nicklas Jensen was in the mood for scoring and Anders Lindbäck did a good job at the net. Jokerit ended up winning the game 3–1.

”The first period was very even. We scored two important goals there in the end. In the second period we were really good. We could’ve scored even more goals. It was one of our best periods. In the third one we were able to fight for the win and keep the lead. I am satisfied with our performance on tour”, said Jokerit head coach Lauri Marjamäki in front of the media.

Jokerit finished the first period strongly

Jokerit started off with a good pressure in the offensive zone, but the potential chances were lacking for a while. Joni Ortio at Barys goal got to keep his post clean an tranquil. A minor penalty took by defenceman David Sklenicka paused the good momentum for the visitors.

Barys were able to keep the possession in the game after the special forces were over. Darren Dietz used his heavy shot actively, but the accuracy wasn’t there. Jokerit captain Marko Anttila and his line took the puck back to the other end of the rink. The match was the 300th KHL regular season game for the sizeable forward.

The first period was mostly in the hands of the home team and Lindbäck at Jokerit net needed to stay alert on the pucks flying on both sides of him. There were times in the first period in which the clock ran multiple minutes without breaks.

Before the intermission Jokerit were able to take the lead. Otto Leskinen shot from the blue line and as there was massive traffic in front of the Barys net, Ortio coulnd’t see the puck going in past him. It was later noticed that Kalle Kossila steered the puck in – making him eventually the goal scorer. After a tough period the Helsinki team got their game going as also Jensen shot a goal – giving Jokerit a two-goal lead.

”To my recollection the very beginning was tight and a bit tough, but we got into it on the second half of the first period. Once you get the lead, it gets a bit easier as the opponent needs to open up their game”, Kossila thought about the start of the game.

Jokerit kept their position

Jokerit got a power play right in the beginning of the second period and the visitors were able to create pressure towards Ortio’s net. Barys managed to get away with the short-handed situation and got to keep chasing the score into the period.

Barys had their trouble in getting the game together, even they received an opportunity on power play. The home team couldn’t get their formation in place in the offensive zone. In the last seconds of the power play Kirill Savitsky got to shoot at the Jokerit net – however, his stick broke, when trying to swing the shot.

Even though Jokerit were controlling the game in the second period, the Helsinki team’s third goal still came a bit as a surprice. Jensen took the puck from the air and got it settled before the shot. The puck went in from the fivehole of Ortio. Barys were leaving behind in both scoring and also in the events on the ice, which made their job to come back even more difficult.

As the second period went along, Jokerit were totally dominating the game and Barys had serious times trying to figure out how to tighten the gap in the score. Despite the last seconds hassle, Jokerit went to the second intermission with three goals lead.

Barys didn’t get their comeback

Barys tried to grab on to the last pieces of opportunity that Jokerit offered them with taking a penalty – the visitors had too many players on the ice at once. Jakob Lilja found Nikita Mikhailis in the net-front with a witty pass. The forward got a relatively easy task to put the puck behind Lindbäck, as there were no Jokerit players near the goal-scorer.

”There was a penalty and the opponent got some energy from the goal they scored. It was noticable from the audience as well. We managed to keep them away from the danger zone and Lindbäck was overall good in the net”, Kossila mentioned.

In the following minutes Barys were furiously chasing Jokerit lead and constantly creating scoring chances at the Jokerit net. The puck only briefly visited the home team’s zone, before it was taken back to another end. Jokerit weren’t given the power play in the situation in which Barys player’s stick hit Veli-Matti Savinainen’s face. Jokerit forward skated to the bench holding his mouth area.

Jacob Berglund was given a minor penalty and that opened up a chance for Jokerit to put up another goal. Alex Grant’s slapshot went to the net, but nobody was there to put the good rebound puck in. Ortio maanged to get the puck into his glove a few seconds later.

”Each team plays and forechecks a bit differently. Barys for example forechecked with two players and we weren’t able to get away from the pressure by hatching the puck, but we had to move the puck fast from our own zone", Kossila analyzed.

Jokerit had to stay concentrated until the very end, as Barys were given some power play time in the last minutes. Captain Anttila crowned his 300th KHL regular season game with an empty-netter.

Solid end for the tour for the Helsinki team

The Helsinki team didn’t give up the lead once they got into that position. Lindbäck played well at his net and offensive game was in a decent level. Jokerit were able to minimize the A level scoring chances for Barys, when truly needed.

”I’d say that the tour was pretty good. We improved after the first game. After flying 11–12 hours and playing in the next morning it’s not the easiest, but we got better and found our own game and pattern for playing”, Kossila concluded the three games in the far east.

Jokerit will play one more game on the road before heading for the break, during which the Euro Hockey Tour tournament will be played in the Finnish capital.

”Now we take a few days rest. It’s nice to get back home. On Saturday we practice well and then go to Riga. We’ll go get the full set of points there. The team is feeling very good at the moment”, Kossila said.

 

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