(CSKA leads the series 3-0)
Dynamo’s decision to allow Semyon Pankratov to move to CSKA last summer is starting to look costly. The 23-year-old forward had three seasons in and around the first team at his former club and, before this series, had not made a huge impact at his new employer. However, with a point to prove to the Blue-and-Whites, Pankratov is raising his game. Today he potted his second goal of the series (previously he had never scored in the playoffs and had just three goals in 83 regular season appearances) to snap a 1-1 tie late in the second period.
It all stemmed from a defensive lapse. A clearance from behind the net got away from Dynamo #27 and Vitaly Abramov was quick to fire in a shot from the boards. Goalie Alexander Yeryomenko was scrambling back into position and managed to block that speculative attempt, but was powerless when the rebound went straight to Pankratov.
Yeryomenko was back in Dynamo’s starting line-up for the second series running. The Blue-and-Whites found themselves 2-0 down here, just as they did against Severstal, and once again Alexei Kudashov turned to the 41-year-old to stop the rot. In round one, he collected four victories to see the Blue-and-Whites through; in the process he moved to 299 career victories in the KHL and is poised to follow Metallurg’s Vasily Koshechkin as only the second goalie with 300 wins since the tournament was established in 2008.
In the first period, Yeryomenko was the busier of the two goalies but kept his net intact until the intermission. However, CSKA’s pressure paid off early in the second when Vladislav Provolnev broke the deadlock. As the forward fired in his shot, Alexander Popov was making a nuisance of himself in front of the net and a deflection off defenseman Andrei Sergeyev took the puck beyond the home netminder on 25 minutes. Popov, meanwhile, was playing his 150th KHL playoff – only the fifth man to do so.
However, where Dynamo struggled to generate offense in the first period, it proved much powerful in the second. The host led the shot count 19-5 for the frame, and was rewarded when Mikhail Fisenko tied the scores. He started the move by winning an attacking face-off then, after the puck went back to the point, Sergei Boikov thundered in a shot and Fisenko got the touch to take it away from Ivan Fedotov in the CSKA net.
CSKA made the brighter start to the second period, helped by a penalty on Slava Voynov in the 43rd minute. However, neither team was creating clear-cut chances until that late defensive lapse gave the visitor the edge. CSKA can wrap up the series on Wednesday; Dynamo is in the last-chance saloon.