At 7.30 p.m. local time, the new, special KHL season 2020-21 began with the opening game between CSKA Moscow and Ak Bars Kazan.
The opening match between last year’s conference winners CSKA Moscow and Ak Bars Kazan took place in front of 2,374 spectators in the CSKA Arena in Moscow, and Ak Bars Captain Danis Zaripov did not make the trip to Moscow.
The fans of CSKA Moscow were already amazed at a goal 51 seconds after the first puck hit. Dmitry Samorukov scored a 1-0 lead after a wonderful overview from passer Anton Slepyshev. The first third was hotly contested and the chances of 10 to 10 shots on goal were equally high.
In the middle section, Artyom Blazhiyevski was the first CSKA defender to go to the penalty bench for a stupid check. Kazan’s power play went well, almost flawlessly. Mikael Wikstrand saw Stephane Da Costa, who had been replaced from Yaroslavl, who accepted the puck and was able to equalize for the guests with a placed wrist shot. Further penalties were imposed on both teams in the course of the third, but none of the special teams was able to score another goal despite good chances in power play, which in turn speaks for a strong box play at both clubs. Despite many shots from Ak Bars, CSKA Moscow was able to convince with eight blocked shots, which made goalkeeper Alexander Sharychenkov’s work much easier.
At the beginning of the final period, the passer of the 1-0 made it 2-1 for Moscow. Andrei Loktionov was the assistant this time. Ak Bars was able to react again about seven minutes before the end. Kazan’s Nigel Dawes fought for the puck behind the CSKA goal, brought the precise and strong pass to the onrushing Justin Azevedo, who gave Sharychenkov no chance. Overtime had to decide in the first game.
The greatest chance for CSKA had Maxim Shalunov, who failed because of the Swede Adam Reideborn. It went promptly in the other direction. When Ak Bars unceremoniously lost the puck to Konstantin Okulolv, who was unable to free him, Dmitry Voronkov grabbed the puck and scored successfully to make it 2-3 finalscore.
CSKA Moscow vs AKBars Kazan 2-3 OT (1-0, 0-1, 1-1, 0-1)
Tomorrow the following games will continue:
Dinamo Riga vs Barys Nur-Sultan
Traktor Chelyabinsk vs Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg
Dinamo Minsk vs Jokerit Helsinki
Severstal Cherepovets vs Amur Khabarovsk
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl vs Spartak Moskau
Avangard Omsk vs Sibir Novosibirsk
Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod vs Salavat Yulaev Ufa