12. Avangard, 20 matches, 10 regulation victories, 1 overtime victory, 1 penalty shootout victory, 8 regulation defeats, goal difference 59-50, 24 points
4. SKA, 21 matches, 11 regulation victories, 1 overtime victory, 2 penalty shootout victories, 4 regulation defeats, 1 overtime defeat, 2 penalty shootout defeats, goal difference 71-44, 31 points
Avangard Omsk have struggled for consistency at the start of the 2021/2022 KHL regular season. With 20 games in the books, Avangard find themselves sitting in sixth place of the Eastern Conference, trailing leaders Metallurg Magnitigorsk by a large 14 points. Nevertheless, Bob Hartley’s troops have made an improvement in recent matches, embarking on a six-game winning streak against Spartak Moscow (home, 5:2), Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg (home, 3:1), Barys Nur-Sultan (home, 4:1), Sibir Novosibirsk (home, 4:3), Sochi (away, 5:4) and Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (away, 1:0) before losing to Ak Bars 2:3 in Kazan on Friday. Avangard had previously failed to string more than three victories on the bounce together.
In the summer, the likes of Ilya Kovalchuk, Yegor Chinakhov and Klim Kostin all left Avangard, departures which were compensated for by the signings of fellow forwards Peter Cehlarik (9+4), Nikolai Prokhorkin (3+5) and Francis Pare (2+2). Furthermore, Avangard recently secured the signature of forward Nikita Soshnikov from CSKA Moscow. Under the leadership of Hartley, Avangard compete in a compact, organised manner, playing with plenty of intensity and speed. Finnish defensemen Oliwer Kaski (3+13) and Ville Pokka (2+4) are particularly dangerous at the blue line.
Forwards Corban Knight (10+11), Sergei Tolchinsky (3+13), Nail Yakupov (6+8) and Cehlarik are currently Avangard’s leading scorers. 20-year-old Arseniy Gritsyuk has also enjoyed a strong start to the season by tallying nine (4+5) points in 16 appearances.
Defenseman Maxim Goncharov (0+0) and Tolchinsky are on Avangard’s injury list at this moment in time.
Due to their new stadium being constructed in Omsk, Avangard are indeed using the Balashikha Arena in Moscow Region as their home arena.
SKA - the leaders of the Western Conference - are coming off the back of two important home triumphs over Jokerit Helsinki (2:0) and Kunlun Red Star Beijing (7:0) respectively. In those two particular matches, Swedish goaltender Lars Johansson was at his best for our team, stopping all 34 shots he faced. Forward Nikita Gusev also stood out in the two games by earning five (1+4) points.
27-year-old Finnish defenseman Mikko Lehtonen has notably joined up with SKA in Balashikha.
In the 2020/2021 campaign, these two teams traded home wins, as Avangard registered a 4:3 victory in Balashikha and SKA subsequently gained revenge in Saint Petersburg by a score of 5:2.
Simon Hrubec: 16 matches, 9 wins, 6 defeats, 409 saves made, save percentage 91.9%, goals against average 2.39, 2 shutouts
Vasily Demchenko: 6 matches, 3 wins, 2 defeats, 117 saves made, save percentage 91.4%, goals against average 2.26 1 shutout
Lars Johansson: 15 matches, 10 wins, 2 defeats, 313 saves made, save percentage 94.6%, goals against average 1.31, 7 shutouts
Alexander Samonov: 6 matches, 2 wins, 3 defeats, 103 saves made, save percentage 85.8%, goals against average 3.97
Yaroslav Askarov: 4 matches, 2 wins, 2 defeats, 62 saves made, save percentage 92.5%, goals against average 1.53
WHERE TO WATCH
Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time in Balashikha. Match TV, KHL TV, KHL PRIME and Channel 78 will provide a television broadcast in Russia, whereas you can purchase a live video on the KHL’s official website worldwide. Text updates will be available on our Twitter account.