The Last Game of the Regular Season. HCSalavat - HC Lada Togliatti 4:2. February 18, 2017.
In one of my previous posts I wrote that Salavat Yulaev risked not make it to play-offs. I wrote that the team must have won both of the rest games. One over Ak Bars was enough, though, because the opponents, Kunlun Red Star, Admiral Vladivostok and Sibir Novosibirsk simulateaously lost their games. Thus, today\'s game vs Lada Togliatti determined only our first round opponent. If we win, we get the Green Derby as in last year. Do we want that? Of course we do.
Everybody was sure that HCSalavat wanted Kazan in play-offs, so the win was obvious. HC Lada doesn\'t already pursue any aims, so it was just a game of honour for them, everybody thought. Nobody expected that Togliatti would play at top speed. We have to thank Lada that they didn\'t give up the game and showed a top class hockey. It\'s good both for Salavat Yulaev ahead of play-offs and the fans to watch a spectacular game.
Coming down to the roster of Salavat Yulaev, I have to mention some good and bad news. During the previous game vs Ak Bars, Aleksandr Nesterov got injured for unknown time. That\'s a big loss for the team, especially now. He\'s a 3-4th line wing forward who rarely scores, but when he does, the team wins. The doctors confirmed that Igor Makarov isn\'t going to play this season for sure. On the other hand, there are some good news. Teemu Hartikainen got back to Ufa and was seen on the Arena during the Green Derby. Doctors say that he\'s going to be ready soon. Linus Omark, probably the best player of the team, sent a video from Sweden, saying hi to everybody and promising to get well soon.
As for the roster for today\'s game, there were some changes, but not so important. The first line Enver Lisin - Tomas Mertl - Maksim Mayorov stayed the same. Nominally the 4th line Igor Grigorenko - Dmitry Makarov - Denis Parshin became the 2nd in this game. Kirill Kaprizov went to Evgeny Korotkov and Anton Lazarev instead of the injured Aleksander Nesterov. Stepan Khripunov and Mikhail Vorobyov were partnered with Dmitry Maltsev who substituted Kaprizov. Mikhail Kotlyarevsky was the 4th forward in this line, but still he got his playtime.
HCSalavat starts with massive attacks on Ilya Ezhov\'s net, making many shots. But HC Lada lets everybody understand that it\'s not going to be an easy game. They responded with bruising hockey and dangerous counterattacks, one of them finished with a fluke goal. Grigory Belousov makes a wrist shot from the blue line, Svedberg parries the puck to the left side but hits the referee. Denis Zernov takes this free puck and sends it to Niklas\'s net, 0:1. In my opinion, it wasn\'t the goalie\'s mistake. Just the referee was not in the right place.
The second period starts with Lada\'s one more penalty. HCSalavat is good at powerplay this season. Sami Lepisto confirms that with a long slap shot, tying the game, 1:1.
Lada doesn\'t wait for long, in 4 minutes Stanislav Bocharov responds with a powerplay goal. I repeat, no one expected Togliatti to play at top speed. This was a heavy game for Ufa. Salavat Yulaev had to use extra powers to win the game.
Maksim Mayorov assisted by Evgeny Korotkov scores the 2nd goal of the team. The combination went really good. Look at that assist by Korotkov! Does he have eyes on his back?
Probably that was all for Lada. At the start of the 3rd period young line scores the 3rd goal. Mikhail Vorobyov and Mikhail Kotlyarevsky assist Stanislav Gareyev to give the lead to Salavat. We have to mention that the goal was scored by efforts of only Ufa alumnis. In the end of the game Denis Kulyash scores an empty net goal. Kulyash finally scored, because it was seen during the whole game that he really wanted to score. He made 5 shots on goal! We\'re really happy for him.
In general, I\'m happy for the team. HCSalavat ended the regular season with a good mood and hit the play-offs. One more Green Derby awaits us. The first game is on February 22nd in Kazan. That\'s going to the hell of a Derby.
All the photos are taken from HCSalavat\'s official VK Public page: https://vk.com/hcsalavat
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