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Kunlun Red Star had lost nine consecutive games and the reminder of the regular season didn’t matter that much to the team as the possibilities to get to the playoffs had gone away. Jokerit were in a much better situation, but also the Helsinki team had been losing a lot lately. Therefore Jokerit wanted to get back on track against the China based team.

In the first game this season between Jokerit and Kunlun Red Star the Helsinki team was better by score 6–5 on away ice. Defenceman Philip Holm netted two goals and many players got some points back in September in a game in which scoring wasn’t an issue for Jokerit.

Veli-Matti Savinainen and John Norman got their 300th KHL game on to their belts against Kunlun Red Star. Lately Jokerit had been struggling with goal-scoring and the team hand’t found its way to win games the way they used to do earlier in the season. Still Kunlun Red Star shouldn’t have been a big challenge.

On Wednesday Jokerit didn’t leave anything to chance. The home team was overall better in all areas of the game and got away with a dominant 7–1 win.

”We worked through the game with all four lines and got some success on our way that we needed. The team has tried a lot and even tonight everybody played until the end even they could’ve given some slack. It’s great to get to Moscow to the next game from here. We’ve had eight guys off the line-up and now things start to normalize. Of course we need to play well in every game despite the roster. In the last ten-ish games we’ve needed 23 shots per goal and the opponent has needed only seven. It almost got under our skin.”, thought Jokerit head coach Lauri Marjamäki after the game.

Jokerit took an early lead

Jokerit tried to get in control of the game early on in the first period. The home team skates with high pace and forechecked aggressively. It worked well, as Philip Holm was able to deliver the puck to the net and eventually in as well after first receiving it in the blue line. Jeremy Smith between the pipes for Kunlun Red Star couldn’t do much to prevent the goal from happening.

Kunlun Red Star didn’t get much of the puck to themselves during the first minutes of the game. Jokerit had the patience to keep the control in the neutral zone, if needed. Also the Helsinki team could break the opponent’s defence pretty simply to the offensive zone.

Goaltender Smith kept Kunlun Red Star somehow in the game with his saves. Jokerit were close to gain their lead after an unsuccessful pass, when Marko Anttila got to shoot from the point. After the captain’s effort Jesse Joensuu was sent to serve a minor penalty for interference. The home team had no difficulties in the penalty-kill as they have the best special forces in that area in the whole KHL.

Anders Lindbäck could stay pretty calm at Jokerit net in the first period as he only had to face three shots sent by Kunlun Red Star players. Even on power play the visitors didn’t get potential chances to score.

Jokerit got the scoring going

The second period didn’t start any better for the visitors as Mikhail Abramov was sent to the penalty box after only a few minutes. Jokerit capitalized ruthlessly, when Nicklas Jensen shot a fiery one-timer behind Smith. Jokerit managed to create a few skilled attacks towards Kunlun Red Star net, but couldn’t score more goals right away.

Afterall, the home team didn’t have to wait for the third goal. Teemu Turunen made his way to the scoring sector and sent a heavy wrister to the back of the net. Kunlun Red Star started to skate harder after they fell three goals behind, but still didn’t get to the scoring chances.

Just when it started to look really bad for the visitors, did Kunlun Red Star get on the scoreboard after a good turnover in the offensive zone. The puck was passed to Ethan Werek, who got plenty of free space to finish past Lindbäck. The joy for Kunlun Red Star was short, because Holm took Jokerit back to three-goal lead with his second of the night not long after Werek’s successful effort.

”We talked before the game that we’ve struggled in scoring and we wanted to play solid defensively. We knew that they’d been a lot of back and forth hockey.”, Holm said.

The second period concluded with the fifth goal for the Helsinki team. A father of a newborn child Kalle Kossila got into a breakaway and put the puck in the net with nice skilled moves.

A fight colored the third period

In the last period there wasn’t too many questions about that which team was about to take the points from the game. Jokerit had made the matter pretty clear with their efficiency in the first two periods. On the other hand Kunlun Red Star couldn’t create enough chances to keep within reach.

Jensen scored his second goal from a sweet pass by Holm, giving Jokerit already a huge five goal lead. Smith at Kunlun Red Star net was probably the best player of the team, but still couldn’t do much to make the score any way favorful for the visitors.

Kunlun Red Star got a power play during the third period as Jokerit captain Marko Anttila was sent to the penalty box, but despite all the efoort the visitors couldn’t score another goal behind goaltender Lindbäck. The period was overall a bit dull, but there was a fight that happened between Jokerit forward Savinainen and Kunlun Red Star defenceman Jake Chelios, who also got a minor penalty for slashing added to his five minute penalty.

The score was settled with Jensen’s third goal, which completed the Danishman’s hattrick. The final buzzer made sure that Jokerit got the two points by a clear margin.

”I haven’t scored like this in the last seasons. It’s been a point here and there. I want to contribute the best way possible and the that team wins is always the most important.”, thought the efficient Swedishman Holm.

Holm had a fluent game

Jokerit didn’t give much of a chance to their visitors on Tuesday. Kunlun Red Star weren’t in any shape to challenge the strong Helsinki team and Jokerit put up a very decent amoung of goals on their way to victory. The Swedish defenceman Holm spent a five-point night with two goals and three assists.

Jokerit will play one more game before the change of the year as they will travel to Moscow to play CSKA on Thursday.

”We played with them recently at home and they’re a good team and a tough team. We try to bring the confidence from this and stay solid defensively.”, Holm concluded.

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