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© RIA Novosti. Vladimir Fedorenko

KHL minute-by-minute - Dinamo Moscow 7-4 SKA St. Petersburg

by at 25/01/2011 19:40

And that's all from Luzhniki tonight. Dinamo's 7-4 victory secures their grip on second place in the Western Conference. They now lead third-placed Atlant by three points, but it's the five-point cushion over divisional rivals SKA which is crucial. Oleg Znarok's men are next in action on Friday, away to city rivals CSKA (7:30 pm); the next game in Moscow comes tomorrow night as Spartak host CSKA in another local derby at Sokolniki (7:30 pm).

It's been a difficult few weeks for Dinamo with that long, long losing streak. But as Komarov and Michael Garnett lead the post-match victory rituals there's little sign of the storm clouds which had been gathering over Luzhniki. Instead it's gleeful home support filing home happy in the belief that their team can still mount a serious challenge for the championship once the play-offs start in just over a month's time.

The top players are collecting their awards. Johann Franssen gets the nod for SKA, but with two goals it's defender Maxim Solovyov who takes the honours for Dinamo.

60:00 Dinamo 7-4 SKA. Final score.

Don't assume Komarov's goal will be his last contribution for the night: as one of just two players still atthe club after last season he has taken on the role of unofficial cheerleader. Once we've completed the formalities he'll be back to lead the post-match celebrations with the crowd.

Even the Mexican wave is working now, though the SKA fans seem reluctant to join in. It still manages a couple of complete circuits to the glee of the home support.

And if you remove your goalie you can't afford to give away the puck: Janne Jalasvaara makes the interception, Leonid Komarov supplies the finish to the move - and surely the match.

58:38 GOAL DINAMO 7-4

Into the last two minutes. SKA playing with an empty net.

57:51 SKA call a time-out. Can Vaclav Sikora find a way back for his team?

Just under four minutes to play and the home fans are already starting to celebrate what has - at times - been a hugely impressive display. There's even a brave attempt to get a Mexican wave going, but it hasn't quite caught on yet.

SKA back to full strength, and Stepanek pulls off a great double save as Weinhandl returns to the game. It's all Dinamo now. Stepanek is single-handedly keeping his side from a hammering.

53:01 How did that stay out? Satan whipped in a shot which hit Stepanek and flicked to safety off the keeper's right hand post.

52:36 penalty against SKA : Weinhandl (tripping, 2 min)

It's finished Atlant 4-2 Sibir in the other game going on in Moscow Region tonight. Not that anyone here has noticed!

49:49 Penalty against SKA : Sushinsky (cross-checking, 2 min)

And there it is! A sweeping move from one end of the ice to other sees Artyom Chernov thump home Mikhail Balandin's pass. A distraught Stepanek lies flat on his back beside his goal - after so many great saves he's been beaten once again, and that could be the killer blow.

48:44 GOAL DINAMO 6-4

Dinamo really need to take one of these chances while they are controlling the game. They have already seen how SKA can sow chaos in the defence.

47:39 Leonid Komarov is known as one of the biggest 'thieves' in Russian hockey and he almost struck again after stealing a loose puck on his own blue line and surging forward. But instead of going for goal he tried to play in Satan and the pass went astray.

46:28 Stepanek again! Babenko thwarted this time after Chernov forced an opening. Dinamo look to have the edge as we take our final advertising pause.

45:20 Fantastic save from Stepanek to deny Gorovikov! Satan played his partner through and it seemed that the goal was at his mercy until a desperate glove did enough to turn the puck round the post. Has that cost Dinamo victory, or merely delayed the inevitable?

To clarify the league standards, if anyone wins tonight in regulation time, they will go second in the Western Conference - a position which ensures home advantage in the first two play-off rounds. But if we go to overtime Dinamo will stay ahead of SKA regardless of the final outcome. Lokomotiv Yaroslavl look to be safe on top of the section.

43:23 It's a slightly cagey start to this third session. Neither goaltender has been tested so far.

It feels like the next goal could be crucial in this game. While there's only one in it SKA will feel they've every chance of turning it around, but if Dinamo can extend their advantage that clock will start to tick all too fast for the Petersburg side.

40:01 The third period gets underway.

Just a couple of minutes until the start of the third period here in Moscow, meanwhile it's all over at Severstal where Salavat Yulayev have won 3-0 to go joint top of the table. In Mytishchi, Atlant lead visitors Sibir 3-2 as the third period continues.

You can't take your eyes of this one for a moment. After losing those two quick goals early in the second period it looked like Dinamo had lost their way completely. But discipline is key to success for any hockey team, and a couple of penalties against SKA - at a point when they were bossing proceedings - turned everything upside down again. Dinamo back in front, but it would be a brave man who was willing to bet on the outcome of this one.

40:00 Dinamo 5-4 SKA. End of the second period.

Into the last minute of the second period.

Nobody in the Smaller Sports Arena at Luzhniki can argue they've been short of entertainment tonight. And there's another 20 minutes - at least - to come after this second period. Don't go anywhere!

Deja-vu time! Just as the hosts conceded two quickfire goals, so now they grab a brace on the powerplay. It's not the cleanest of finishes, but not many will care about that as Dmitry Pestunov puts the hosts back in front.

37:30 GOAL Dinamo 5-4

But the recent signing from Finland gets his first goal for the club to level the game at 4-4. Janne Jarlasvaara fires home a Gorovikov pass and Dinamo's powerplay continues for another minute.

37:09 GOAL Dinamo 4-4

Solovyov goes close for Dinamo with a shot from the blue line, then Jarlasvaara attempts the same more wildly.

36:11 Penalty against SKA : Denis Denisov (slashing, 2 mins)

And Dinamo now have a 5 vs 3 advantage of their own.

35:57 Penalty against SKA : Anton Kryukov (holding, 2 mins)

Two potentially decisive minutes of hockey coming up as SKA suffer a penalty. Can Dinamo reverse the tide in this match?

34:53 There's not much to cheer on the ice for the Moscow side at the moment, so their fans are taunting the travelling SKA followers with a chant of "One capital, that's Moscow!".

All the hard work there came from Sergei Brylin as he picked up the puck behind the line and wriggled free to cross for Maxim Rybin to turn it in. A complete turnaround here inside 10 minutes.

32:55 GOAL SKA 3-4

It's the second advert break in the second period, and a couple of goals have gone in elsewhere. Salavat Yulayev have gone 3-0 up in the closing stages at Severstal, while Sibir have equalised away to Atlant. 2-2 in Mytishchi during the second period.

31:43 A rare Dinamo attack and Stepanek has to be alert to hold onto a shot from Roman Derlyuk.

29:42 The officials haven't made many friends here tonight, and that was almost another incident to outrage the conspiracy theorists. The puck got caught in the linesman's skates and fell kindly for Petr Prukha, but his pull back just evaded the waiting Maxim Rybin and Dinamo were reprieved.

27:30 The action is all at the Dinamo end in this period - great since it's just in front of the Luzhniki press seats, not so good for a slightly less enthusiastic home crowd.

Dinamo ease the pressure but can't make much of their powerplay. Back to equal sides and the visitors are back on the attack.

24:42 Penalty against SKA : Denis Grebeshkov (interference, 2 min)

Dinamo back at full strength - but has their grip on this game gone for good?

And Dinamo's indiscipline costs them a two-goal lead. Fransson adds an assist to his earlier goal as Alexei Yashin forces the puck home from close range.

23:47 GOAL SKA 3-3

Huge cheers as Martensson's shot is thumped straight back down the ice, but SKA are soon back around Dinamo's goal.

Dinamo remain one man short, with Chernov still sitting out his penalty time.

And SKA take full advantage quickly as Petr Cajanek pounces on the loose puck after Maxim Sushinsky fires into Garnett's pads from the left wing.

22:25 GOAL SKA 3-2

22:04 Penalty against Dinamo : Aryem Chernov (holding, 2 min)

Big problems for Dinamo now - a second penalty puts them at 3 vs 5 for 1:25.

21:29 Penalty against Dinamo : Maxim Velikov (tripping, 2 min).

I mentioned earlier that tonight's game is being played without music, cheerleaders, video replays etc in respect to the Day of Mourning for the airport terrorist attack yesterday. This, however, does not interfere with the adverts which boomed out over the tannoy during the interval. Draw your own conclusions ...

20:01 The second period is underway.

There are two other matches underway tonight. In Cherepovets, Salavat Yulayev Ufa look set to join Avangard Omsk on top of the table. They lead hosts Severstal 2-0 after two periods. And just up the road in Mytishchi Alant are 2-1 up against Sibir midway through the second period.

Meanwhile SKA, hotly tipped for the Gagarin Cup before the season started still resemble a bunch of 'galacticos' rather than a coherent team. Coach Vaclav Sikora has made great progress in toughening up his squad since inheriting Ivan Zanatta's job back in the autumn, but where the hosts are operating as a unit the visitors look too dependent on individual flashes of brilliance.

For regular Dinamo watchers, that was much more like it. Oleg Znarok's team had been ordered to play hockey 'like rugby' in a bid to end that long losing streak, but tonight they've had no need to resort to ruck and maul tactics so far. Well organised at the back and enjoying both good fortune and good finishing in front of goal, the Blue-and-Whites look like potential title contenders again.

20:00 Dinamo 3-1 SKA End of the first period

The hosts kept pressing until the hooter and got their reward as defender Maxim Solovyov collected Gorovikov's pass and saw his low shot take a deflection and bobble past Stepanek.

19:33 GOAL Dinamo 3-1

Into the last minute of the first period.

17:45 A long pass from Dinamo's defensive third finds recent signing Artyom Chernov but as he skates behind the net his pull back deflects off a skate and just evades the lurking Konstantin Volkov.

16:45 That penalty slowed Dinamo's momentum and the game is both more even and less eventful as a result. That will suit SKA who were struggling to get a toe-hold in the match.

Dinamo do a pretty good job of killing the penalty and we're back to full 5 vs 5.

13:25 More anger among the fans as Granyak seems to be chopped down only for the officials to wave play-on. In the seats near the press benches there is muttering about Gazprom's financial influence on the Petersburg side. Gazprom are the league's principle backers as well as SKA's shirt sponsors - opposition fans love to complain about the 'Gazistki'.

13:09 Penalty against Dinamo : team pen (too many players on the ice, 2 min). Perhaps being able to count to five was not really one of those strengths!

Dinamo came into this game in uncertain form - their win over Dinamo Minsk on Saturday was their first in 12 attempts. But tonight they have shown some of the strengths which propelled them to the top of the KHL table before their wobble began in December.

Advert break - and it's been a breathless start to this game.

Another very short powerplay as Maxim Solovyov turns in Mikhail Balandin's cross to put Dinamo ahead.

12:04 GOAL DINAMO 2-1

11:55 Penalty against SKA : Mattais Weinhandl (hooking, 2 min).

And now another penalty coming against SKA as Dinamo step up the pressure.

10:00 SKA back to full strength. Apart from one alarm the Petersburg team defended the penalty well, but the home crowd are unhappy that some of their livelier challenges went unpunished.

8:58 Great chance for Dinamo after Derlyuk's shot is pushed away by Stepanek, but Satan can not drag the puck free of the goalie's pad and get a shot in on goal.

8:00 Penalty against SKA (too many men on the ice, team pen, 2 min).

A couple of scores from earlier this afternoon - and some big wins. Metallurg Magnitogorsk enjoyed a 5-1 win over Neftekhimik in the Eastern Conference, but their namesakes from Novokuznetsk had day to forget - they went down 10-2 at home to Barys Astana. The Ural clash between Avtomobilist and Traktor went to the hosts in a shoot-out after a 3-3 draw in Yekaterinburg.

And that's a proper response. Denis Kokarev feeds Alexei Ugarov in the centre and his shot from 10 metres out is too good for Stepanuk.

6:14 DINAMO GOAL 1-1

5:02 Almost an immediate riposte from the hosts - Yury Babenko slices through SKA's defence but his shot is always rising and gets a helping hand from Stepanuk.

Dinamo may have made the brighter start but it's SKA who open the scoring through Johann Fransson. An unassisted goal as the hosts failed to clear their lines properly.

4:18 SKA GOAL 0-1

3:40 Penalty against SKA : Alexei Yashin (tripping, 2 min). One of the season's shortest powerplays is over and we're playing 4 v 4.

3:29 Penalty against Dinamo : Dmitry Pestunov (hooking, 2 min).

3:06 First testing shot on goal and Gorovikov sees his attempt pushed away by Stepanuk. Dinamo edging the opening exchanges.

2:53 Dinamo's Ruslan Zainullin shots from the blue line but his effort is deflected into the ceiling!

1:30 Garnett has to be alert as Denis Grebeshkov's cross scrapes the Dinamo upright on SKA's first meaningful attack.

0:55 Neither side manages a flying start, with Dinamo's Satan seeing his run halted behind the goal.

 

19:47 After the national anthem and a minute's silence - impeccably observed - the game is underway.

 

19:43 Dinamo have Michael Garnett in goal with Janne Jalasvaara and Dominik Granyak in front of him. Saturday's star man Miroslav Satan, veteran Konstantin Gorovikov and the ever-popular Leonid Komarov are up front for the starting quintet.

 

19:41 The teams are coming on to the ice. SKA start with Jakub Stepanuk in goal, ex Dinamo defender Denis Denisov alongside Dmitry Vorobyev. Anton But, ex-Dinamo man Petr Cajanek and veteran Russian international Maxim Sushinsky lead the attack.

 

19:39 It's a subdued Luzhniki this evening despite the prospect of a big game. As a mark of respect to the dead from yesterday's terrorist attack the match is going ahead without the usual music, dancing girls and razzmatazz.

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