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Friday’s game was the first one betweeen Jokerit and CSKA in this regular season. If history could have been used as some kind of a factor, it prevented a tight match-up as wins had taken turns between the two teams.

Jokerit played their most recent game against Lokomotiv and suffered a loss in overtime after a high quality game. Teemu Turunen scored the only goal for the Helsinki team in that game. For Friday Jokerit got Nicklas Jensen back to their line-up and also Vitali Menshikov got to make his debut in the team.

CSKA lost their last game against Severstal, but had won two games before that, so the team had been going up and down lately.

The game remained in narrow margins through the evening and both of the goaltenders showed their best skills on the ice. Afterall the winner was decided in the overtime and CSKA came out with the 2–1 victory.

”We weren’t at our best today. We were behind our opponent the whole game especially in battles and taking the loose pucks. Our passing game was horrible. We also have been good in the face-offs, but today we lost them terribly and we had to defend a lot after them. Menshikov played well tonight and as we expected. It wasn’t an easy task to come to a game like this after a long time without playing”, said Jokerit head coach Lauri Marjamäki after the game.

Even though the score was tight, the players weren’t happy about the result either.

”In the first period the opponent controlled the puck throughout the period and we were one step behind. In the second one we improved our game and got some of the puck and possession to the offensive zone. The third period was a bit similar to the first one as CSKA created the better chances and tied the game”, Veli-Matti Savinainen wondered after the game.

Visitors started well

CSKA started the game with good spirit and the visitors got the pressure taken to Jokerit end of the rink. Anders Lindbäck had to be ready from the first minute at Jokerit net, once the shots came by from left and right. Vladislav Kamenev was one of the CSKA players who were able to cross to the net.

Jokerit had a bit of troubles to get their game going and as Iiro Pakarinen took a minor penalty, the home team’s rise was postponed and it also became harder. Sergei Plotnikov moved in front of the net and sweeped the puck in – giving CSKA the lead.

In the first period Jokerit let the opponents too easily inside their formation and on close distance from Lindbäck’s net. That made the Helsinki team’s own playmaking difficult. Hannes Björninen had the first scoring chance for Jokerit, but Ivan Fedotov made the save.

Jokerit got their first power play, when Nikita Nesterov threw Pakarinen to the sideboard. The home team got a few shots towards CSKA net, but Otto Leskinen and Kalle Kossila among others were yet unsuccessful. The period ended with Jokerit taking a penalty, which continued also after the intermission.

Savinainen scored twice

Jokerit came in to the second period with good puck control, but still the home team couldn’t break CSKA defence to get into the net and to possible scoring chances. The top lines of the visitors were forcing the game towards Lindbäck again, but the Swedishman stopped the pucks.

Savinainen scored his fourth goal of the season straight from the face-off won in the offensive zone. Brian O’Neill played the puck to the side and Savinainen, who played in the first line in the game, made his hard work show on the scoreboard in form of a tying goal. He got another opportunity in the next shift, but Fedotov denied him.

Lindbäck catched Maxim Sorkin’s shot, when he got into a breakaway. Still, Jokerit were forced to go on short-handed as Niklas Friman hooked himself to the penalty box in the situation. On special forces John Norman skated through CSKA defence, but the finishing fell short.

Once Savinainen got his scoring going, there was almost nothing stopping him. He gave Jokerit 2–1 lead with his second goal of the night. Jensen gave a great pass from deep in the offensive zone. Before 40 minutes were done, there were multiple chances for both teams to put on some goals, but goaltenders at both ends did a great job.

Top level teams played top level ice hockey

CSKA started the third period with strong puck-control and the team didn’t rush into the spaces where it wasn’t possible to create plays in the offensive zone. When Jokerit got the puck, they at first tried to push it deep into the offensive zone and thus make the seconds runo ff the clock.

Lindbäck, who catched 20 pucks in the second period kept doing great things at his work post as the regular time was coming towards the end. CSKA got to even the score, when Alexander Popov got the puck in the offensive zone and passed it to Sergei Andronov, who put it to the net.

Jokerit got another power play, when Joakim Nordström collided with Lindbäck. Defenceman Petteri Lindbohm was near and went to CSKA forward to ask what was happening. Afterall nothing too dramatic happened and Jokerit started their two minutes of man-advantage. No goal was scored on the occasion.

In the last minutes and moments of the regular time there was some real speed on ice and neither of the teams were actually trying to get a safe point out of the game – they went all in. The intense game went to the overtime as the goaltenders didn’t allow any of the shots going in anymore. There CSKA found a way to win.

”It was quite alright, but loss is a loss. I’ve played with Brian and Jensen before and it’s always been good. My own game has been there all season long, but the points haven’t come out. I have done right things on the ice and that stuff what I’m supposed to. I have battled and ripped, stayed with the puck and have been going to the net”, Savinainen said.

Room for improvement

Also the overtime was same kind of speedy hockey as most of the regular time. CSKA got to a good attack and Konstantin Okulov passed to Anton Slepyshev, who scored the game-winning goal behind Lindbäck, who played a great game.

”We need to improve a lot by Sunday. This is professional sports. We need to be so much better as individuals and as a team”, Marjamäki stated.

On Sunday Jokerit will play again against Lokomotiv, when the team comes to Helsinki just a few days after the teams met in Yaroslavl.

”It’s a tough team and they’ve had their challenges in the early season, but since they’ve got their package otgether. We need to bring our best to the table to get the result”, Savinainen knew.

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