SKA St. Petersburg has assembled quite the list of talented scorers, and it’s showing early in the KHL campaign.
The off-season acquisitions of players such as Pavel Datsyuk, Sergei Plotnikov and Viktor Tikhonov made SKA an even stronger early favorite to take home the Gagarin Cup, and that’s truer yet when paired with an already talented roster that included snipers and playmakers such as Ilya Kovalchuk and Vadim Shipachyov. Through three games, the offensive firepower is showing, too. SKA leads the KHL with 12 goals for, including a seven-goal outburst against Salavat Yulaev Ufa.
In St. Petersburg’s most recent outing against Metallurg Magnitogorsk, the defending Gagarin Cup champions, another talented sniper put his stamp on SKA’s early season scoring ways as Evgeny Dadonov scored a jaw-dropping tally midway through the third period with an outstanding Datsyuk-style deke:
There are insurance goals and then there’s what Dadonov pulled. Not only did he pull out some flashy moves in the middle of a somewhat-contested breakaway, but he slammed on the brakes, ripped the puck to his backhand and drew it towards his body before firing it home. Was it as smooth as some of Datsyuk’s best dekes? Maybe not. But was it effective? Without a doubt.
Amazingly, Metallurg goaltender Vasily Koshechkin was almost able to slow up Dadonov’s shot with an outstretched leg, but that would have been a desperation stop. Watch closely and you’ll notice Koshechkin bite so hard on the first fake that he’s starting to lean to his right before shooting out his left leg.
And, finally, Shipachyov needs to be shown some love for his mind-blowing breakaway pass. The replay that begins at the 58-second mark shows Shipachyov somehow spot a seam to hit Dadonov and lay a saucer pass that literally splits two defenders before landing perfectly on Dadonov’s tape. Dadonov may get the glory for the goal, but Shipachyov’s pass may have been the best part of the play.
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