Saint Petersburg (17:00)
Nizhny Novgorod (18:00)
Saint Petersburg (19:30)
(Salavat Yulaev leads the series 2-0)
External events impacted upon both these teams, with just two imports suiting up for today’s game. Slovak defenseman Michal Cajkovsky and Canadian forward JC Lipon, both of Sibir, were the ones who remain in Russia: in the build-up to this game it was announced that Sibir’s Finnish players Harri Sateri and Jyrki Jokipakka, plus Salavat Yulaev’s Teemu Hartikainen, Sakari Manninen, Juha Metsola and Philip Larsen were all ending their contracts and leaving their teams.
That meant changes to both line-ups. Alexander Sharychenkov and Anton Krasotkin took over the goaltending duties, while Sibir’s Yegor Alanov came straight into his team’s first line in place of Jokipakka. Salavat Yulaev promoted its Kulemin-Kadeikin-Shmelyov line, while Viktor Tikhonov joined Danil Bashkirov and Pyotr Khokhryakov on the second line. On defense, Larsen’s was replaced by Viktor Antipin.
Initially, it seemed that the home team was coping better with its enforced changes. Salavat Yulaev had the better of the first period, with Sibir looking unusually passive all over the ice in the opening exchanges. Indeed, the visitor managed just two shots on goal in the first 20 minutes, and went into the break trailing to Gleb Kuzmin’s breakaway goal in the 17th minute. Late in the first, a fight broke out in front of the Sibir net after Tikhonov’s over enthusiastic efforts enraged Evgeny Chesalin. Four players went to the box, with Chesalin getting two roughing minors for his angry reaction to Tikhonov and Danil Bashkirov.
Sibir survived the penalty as it carried into the second period, but fell further behind during a spell of four-on-four play. Antipin marked his first appearance of the playoffs with an impressive assist, carrying the puck deep into Sibir territory before pulling off a backhand feed for Sergei Shmelyov to score. Then Shmelyov turned provider as Alexander Kadeikin added a third on the power play midway through the frame.
Belatedly, Sibir began to play. Lipon had the puck in the net after Sharychenkov fumbled a shot from Vadim Kudako, but the Ufa bench challenged the play and a review upheld the claim of interference on the goalie. Late in the middle frame, though, the visitor got on the scoreboard. The puck rebounded off the boards and fell to Ilya Morozov, whose shot took a deflection off an Ufa skate to beat Sharychenkov.
At the start of the third, yet another power play saw Sibir make it a one-goal game. Lipon screened Sharychenkov and Valentin Pyanov moved down the left-hand channel and fired across the face of goal into the far corner. Sibir pushed for a tying goal, but was unable to find it. Midway through the third, Salavat Yulaev made the game safe when Artyom Pimenov spun away from the left-hand boards and set up Alexei Pustozyorov for a shot from between the hash marks. For Pustozyorov, 21, that was a first playoff goal in the KHL.