CSKA was led by both winger Alexander Radulov, who led the league in scoring with 24 goals and 76 points in 46 games, and goaltenders Stanislav Galimov (25-5-5, 1.78 GAA) and Kevin Lalande (16-3-3, 1.39 GAA).
The balance of power was clearly in the Western Conference this season, as CSKA was followed by both St. Petersburg SKA and Dynamo Moscow, both with 124 points, ahead of Western Conference leaders Ak Bars Kazan with 120.
The first round of the KHL Gagarin Cup Playoffs were frankly lacking in drama, as every favorite would win, with just three of the eight series reaching six games, and only Avangard Omsk requiring the full seven games to defeat Barys Astana of Kazakhstan.
In the Western Conference, #1 Ak Bars prevailed 4 games to 1 over #8 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, #2 Sibir Novosibirsk won 4-2 over #7 Traktor Cheylabinsk, #3 Metallurg Magnitogorsk defeated #6 Salavat Yulaev 4-1 in addition to Omsk outlasting Barys Astana.
The Eastern Conference was more of the same, as all four of he higher ranked clubs advanced, with #1 CSKA dispatching first year outfit #8 HC Sochi in a 4-0 sweep, #2 St. Petersburg downed #7 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 4-1, #3 Dynamo Moscow ousted #6 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the closest series 4-2 and KHL newcomers #4 Jokerit Helsinki of Finland defeated #5 Dinamo Minsk of Belarus 4-1.
With the top four teams in each conference now paired off, one would expect the competition to be much closer and the series to all run longer, but the actual results were far from it, as once again, each favorite dominated with all four series ending 4 games to 1, as #2 Sibir Novosibirsk advances over #3 Metallurg Magnitogorsk to face #1 Ak Bars Kazan, who dispatched #4 Avangard Omsk in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Meanwhile in the Western Conference, #2 SKA St. Petersburg sent Dynamo Moscow packing to earn the right to face #1 CSKA Moscow who ended #4 Jokerit Helsinki's debut season.
The Western Conference Finals begin on March 26th when #1 CSKA hosts #2 SKA, while the Eastern Conference Finals between #1 Ak Bars and #2 Sibir begins on the 27th for the right to play in the Gagarin Cup Finals.
Today's video section are highlights of games played on March 19th, as Ak Bars, Sibir and CSKA all close our their series and move on to the conference finals. Do not miss the save by goaltender Anders Nilsson and the goal by Alex Burmistrov, both of Ak Bars.
This next installment are highlights the conclusion of the end of the other series, , as SKA advances.
Finally, here is the opening video for the 2015 Gagarin Cup Conference Finals.