CSKA opens a 2-0 lead in this Western Conference semi-final as Moscow rival Dynamo endures a frustrating day. Despite coming from behind twice, the visitor was unable to establish a foothold in the game and dropped a 4-2 verdict to Sergei Fedorov’s team.

CSKA Moscow 4 Dynamo Moscow 2 (2-1, 1-1, 1-0)

(CSKA leads the series 2-0)

It’s one of the truisms of any sport that a team is at its most vulnerable immediately after scoring a goal. Coaches devote plenty of time to managing the psychological impact of the joyous surge that comes with grabbing a vital tally. So it’s fair to assume that Dynamo’s Alexei Kudashov will have some pointed questions for his players tonight after the Blue-and-Whites twice tied up this game against CSKA, only to allow the home team to regain the lead on the next meaningful attack.

Exhibit A: after a searching examination in the first period, Dynamo was trailing to a Vitaly Abramov goal. CSKA was good value for its lead, but Stanislav Galiyev conjured an equalizer out of nothing, winning a battle with Andrei Svetlakov behind the net and firing the puck to the slot where it bounced into the net off the back of goalie Ivan Fedotov. It was an unexpected lifeline, and Dynamo threw it away almost immediately, surging forward recklessly and getting caught on an odd-man rush as Anton Slepyshev set up Mikhail Grigorenko’s one-timer to restore the home lead.

Exhibit B: a more combative second-period display from Dynamo got its reward in the 32nd minute when Ivan Igumnov brought the puck into the CSKA zone and dropped it off for Artyom Fyodorov to shoot home via a slight deflection. Once again, though, parity was short-lived. The announcer had barely finished reciting the Dynamo scorers when Konstantin Okulov advanced into the visitor’s zone and managed to get the puck away from the defense and onto the stick of Vladislav Kamenev. The CSKA forward had plenty still to do, but produced some nifty stick-handling to line up a shot that ripped past Ivan Bocharov.

There would be no third fightback. Dynamo fluffed its chance on the power play late in the middle frame, then fell further behind in the third. John Gilmour’s long shot cannoned into the boards and dropped for Alexander Popov to angle a wrister beyond Bocharov. For the second series in a row, Dynamo was about to lose its opening two games with Bocharov between the piping; as against Severstal, Kudashov turned to Alexander Yeryomenko in a bid to reverse the tide.

However, while Yeryomenko did not allow any further CSKA scoring, there was nothing doing at the other end of the ice. The home defense did a good job of denying Dynamo time in dangerous areas and the bulk of the 10 shots that Fedotov had to deal with were far from testing. For the second game running, local bragging rights went to the Red-and-Blue half of Moscow; more significantly, Dynamo faces a long road back in this series, just as it did in the first round against Severstal.

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Dynamo (Moscow) Dynamo (Moscow)
CSKA (Moscow) CSKA (Moscow)
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