Hockey Big Friday gave answers to various questions: about the eighth participant in the Eastern Conference playoffs, about the living legend Danis Zaripov, who completed his career. Several pairs of cups were determined. The winner of the last ticket to the playoffs is still unknown.
… In the third minute of the third period, the announcer from the Tatneft Arena solemnly announced that Danis Zaripov was organizing a farewell match. The captain of Ak Bars, who will turn 42 at the end of March. The hosts’ captain jumped overboard and did a lap of honor, waving to the packed crowd to the eyeballs. I drove to the guest bench and hugged Metallurg head coach Ilya Vorobyov, under whose leadership I won the Gagarin Cup in 2016.
Will we not see him on the ice again? By then, he had three turns in the first half, and remained on the bench in the second. From the box, his former comrade-in-arms was supported by the main KHL record holder, now in charge of the Magnitogorsk reserve, Sergey Mozyakin, as well as KHL president Alexei Morozov.
But what is this? Zinetula Bilyaletdinov releases Zaripov for an encore in a threesome with Semenov and Galiev. The hosts burned 2:4 and fell into the gates of Vasily Koshechkin, also a former teammate of Danis. If Semenov subtly sensed the situation and instead of a throw-in he saw a free Zaripov on the left, there would be a goal. But the winner of the Gagarin Cup-2021 played according to the template, and Koshechkin stopped the puck.
Then Zaripov came out instead of goalkeeper Bilyalov (he replaced Miftakhov after the second break) as the sixth field of the majority brigade. In total, there were 8 turns (5:21 playing time).
Magnitogorsk did not appear to be an amorphous team, as we have seen recently in Moscow and Nizhnekamsk. The hat-trick was scored by striker Korostelev, and the young Yurov summed up the fiery match, without hitting the empty net: after a foul on him, the judges counted the goal.
“Steelworkers” won 6:3 and remembered last season, when they were considered the main favorites in the fight for the trophy.
After the final siren, Zaripov took a microphone and said a few warm words, promising that he would stand by the team in the playoffs.
In the first round, Ak Bars will face Neftekhimik, who predictably defeated Kunlun Red Star.
In the West, CSKA, after picking up a derby victory against Dynamo after extra time, chose not the comfortable Balashikha with Vityaz, but the cocky Severstal. On Sunday, February 26, in Cherepovets, the future rivals will rehearse the battle for the cup. The Lynx will surely try to cheer themselves and the fans up after the loss in Sochi.
And Moscow “Dynamo” will meet “Torpedo”. Today Igor Larionov’s team played two goals in Omsk, but after extra time they could not cope with the powerful brigade of the most “hawks”.
If Sergei Fedorov refused to replace the goalkeeper with a field player in extra time since February, then Avangard coach Mikhail Kravets continues this experiment, which is impossible in the playoffs.
Tomorrow we are watching the match in Balashikha “Vityaz” – “Dinamo” (Minsk). A draw in regulation time guarantees guests a ticket to the playoffs. In case of defeat in regulation time, Bison will have to rely on Dynamo Moscow, who will play Spartak at the VTB Arena on February 26.
Ak Bars – Metallurg – 3:6, CSKA – Dynamo M – 5:4 OT, Sibir – Salavat Yulaev – 1:3, Avangard – Torpedo – 4:3 OT , Barys – Lokomotiv – 3:5, Avtomobilist – Traktor – 1 :5, Neftekhimik – Kunlun RS – 7:0, HC Sochi – Severstal – 4:3