Saint Petersburg (17:00)
Nizhny Novgorod (18:00)
Saint Petersburg (19:30)
(Severstal leads the series 1-0)
Andrei Razin’s team came to Moscow looking to prove a point. Severstal’s steady year-on-year improvement earned it plaudits in regular season, but the Steelmen have not made playoff progress since 2013. Almost a decade on, hopes are high that the team can at least match its best result in the KHL – and today’s opening game buoys Severstal’s optimism even further.
The visitor almost fluffed its lines at the start: in the first minute, goalie Vladislav Podyapolsky took a penalty for dislodging the net. However, Dynamo failed to take that early opportunity and when the Blue-and-Whites found themselves a man down, Jakob Stenqvist was on hand to open the scoring. In terms of territory, the teams were closely matched in the first period, but Severstal generated far more end product as it outshot Dynamo 15-9. More importantly, it added a second goal late in the frame through Makar Khabarov to give something of a cushion at the first intermission.
However, it’s often said that 2-0 is the worst lead in hockey and Dynamo set about proving the truth behind that old axiom. Two goals in three minutes early in the second period wiped out Severstal’s lead as Slava Voynov led the way. He got his team on the scoreboard when he powered home a one-timer from the blue line after Vadim Shipachyov won the draw. Then the defenseman was among the assists as Stanislav Galiyev tied the scores on the power play.
However, Severstal was not fazed. Instead, it absorbed the home pressure and hit back when it got a power play of its own. With the man advantage, the visitor adopted a high-tempo passing game that culminated in Daniil Vovchenko rifling home from the left-hand circle. A couple of minutes after that, Joonas Nattinen’s neat behind-the-back feed opened up a shooting lane for Yegor Morozov and that two-goal lead was restored in full.
In the third, Nattinen scored himself to make it 5-2 before Ivan Igumnov revived Dynamo’s hopes after 56 minutes. However, it was too late to save the game. Igor Geraskin found the empty net in the last minute as Severstal celebrated a winning start to playoffs.