- © RIA Novosti. Igor Russak
© RIA Novosti. Igor Russak
MOSCOW, March 1 (R-Sport) – Regular season champion SKA St. Petersburg stormed into the Western Conference semifinals with a 7-0 demolition of Atlant Moscow Region in the fifth game of their series.
The Gazprom-backed team will face the winner of the clash between Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and Severstal Cherepovets, with the latter 3-2 up.
“We were the better team in the series. Of course, we got tired a little, but we deserved this win,” said SKA forward Tony Martensson, who scored twice in Thursday night's drubbing.
“Yes, we lost one road game, that defeat was unnecessary. But we pulled ourselves together and got what we wanted.”
Artemy Panarin opened the scoring just 53 seconds in, before an eight-minute blitz in the second period put paid to the visitors' hopes of extending the series.
Mikhail Varnakov and Alexander Kucheryavenko made it 3-0 before Martensson got his double, and in a flash the home team was broken.
Former Edmonton Oilers forward Patrick Thoresen got on the score sheet in the third before Varnakov got his second, bringing about a repeat 7-0 humiliation that befell Atlant in the second game.
The Western Conference semifinals start next Thursday.
Meanwhile, Lokomotiv snatched a 3-2 win over Severstal to stay alive in the best-of-seven series at 3-2.
After breaking the KHL record for the longest game on Monday, the teams looked set for another jaunt into overtime, but Swedish defenseman Staffan Kronwall fired in a winner two minutes before the final buzzer.
Latvian wing Mikelis Redlihs and captain Alexei Kalyuzhny had put Lokomotiv into the lead twice in the second period, but Mikhail Anisin leveled on both occasions.
Severstal may still reach its first KHL conference semifinals on Saturday, when the teams travel to the northern city of Cherepovets.