Saint Petersburg (17:00)
Nizhny Novgorod (18:00)
Saint Petersburg (19:30)
(Dynamo wins the series 4-3)
A powerful first period was just enough to lift Dynamo over Severstal and set up a Moscow derby in round two of this year’s playoffs. In the Western semi-finals, CSKA will face its cross-town rival, with the opening game scheduled for Thursday, March 17.
Tonight, Dynamo was determined to wrap things up as quickly as possible and Alexei Kudashov’s men made an impressive start to the game. From the opening face-off, the Blue-and-Whites swarmed forward and there was danger in the first couple of minutes as Stanislav Galiyev and Andrei Sergeyev both went close to breaking the deadlock. Severstal was unable to get out of its zone, and that pressure brought the opening goal in the sixth minute when Ivan Igumnov redirected Yegor Zaitsev’s point shot past Vladislav Podyapolsky.
The home team continued to press, with Severstal unable to register a shot on goal until midway through the session. Indeed, the visitor was limited to just four efforts at Alexander Yeryomenko in the first period and it wasn’t until Vadim Shipachyov took a penalty in the 13th minute that there was any significant pressure on the home net.
However, the Severstal power play could not find a way through and, late in the frame, Dynamo doubled its lead thanks to Slava Voynov. Shipachyov dished off the puck to the defenseman, and his shot thundered past Podyapolsky to convert his team’s first power play of the game. Voynov moves to 9 (5+4) points in this year’s playoffs, making him the leading scorer in the first round.
If the first period saw Dynamo well on top, the second was a much tighter affair. Severstal’s offense came out to play, helped by almost six minutes on the power play, but there was little to frighten Yeryomenko from the visitor’s attacking efforts. However, there were noticeably fewer opportunities for the home team to threaten, keeping the game very much alive going into the third period.
And at the start of that period, Severstal gave itself a much-needed lifeline. The Steelmen killed off the remnants of a penalty on Vladislav Kodola without undue stress, then promptly went ahead in after 41 minutes when back to equal strength. It didn’t look like a hugely dangerous situation when Jakob Stenqvist lifted a point shot towards the net, but Yegor Morozov was in the perfect place to get a redirect that steered the puck away from Yeryomenko.
A rush of penalties disrupted the game, helping Dynamo to run down the clock, and the home team had a couple of presentable chances to restore its two-goal advantage as Andre Petersson and Eric O’Dell both went close. However, when Anton Wedin took a penalty in the 56th minute, Severstal had a gilt-edged opportunity to tie the game. The team’s leading scorers in post-season combined, Daniil Vovchenko setting up Kirill Pilipenko, but Yeryomenko spread his pads to make the stop. Then Andrei Razin called a time-out but his team did not get a chance to go six-on-four and Dynamo was able – with some difficulty – to kill the penalty and welcome Wedin back to the game.
A few seconds later, Severstal’s hopes took a huge blow when Makar Khabarov was called for holding. Dynamo’s power play did not look to grab a third goal, but instead worked with the clock to squeeze the life out of the closing minutes and leave the visitor almost out of time. There were just 35 seconds left when Khabarov returned and Podyapolsky could, at last, get to the bench. That wasn’t enough to fashion one last chance to save the game and Dynamo greeted the hooter with joy and relief at the end of the tightest series so far in 2022.