Previously, these two teams have met on one occasion in the 2019/2020 KHL regular season, as Avangard claimed a narrow 3:2 victory at home:
15.10.2019. Avangard - SKA - 3:2 (Voynov 02:25, Semyonov 28:37, Dedunov 40:20; Barabanov 04:05, Lehtera 08:24)
Avangard, who are playing all home games in Balashikha this season with their stadium in Omsk undergoing reconstruction, are currently one of the best teams in the league in terms of form. Incredibly, Avangard have only lost two of their last 13 matches, and they haven't suffered a defeat on the road since early December. Boasting 76 points, the Hawks occupy second position of the Eastern Conference, already guaranteed of a berth in the upcoming Gagarin Cup playoffs. Avangard are only two points behind first-placed Ak Bars.
The Siberians have won eight consecutive matches in the championship, beating Barys (3:0), Amur (2:1), Admiral (5:2, 3:1), Vityaz (2:1), HC Sochi (5:2), Metallurg Magnitogorsk (6:1) and Neftekhimik (3:2). Avangard are the only KHL club to have conceded just the one defeat in 2020 so far.
Nevertheless, SKA have also gained plenty of momentum, with our team defeating Barys (7:4), Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (4:3) and Dinamo Minsk (5:0) in this particular home series. Interestingly, if we stretch back to 2019, SKA haven't been beaten in Saint Petersburg since losing 0:1 to CSKA Moscow in the Russian Classic at the Gazprom Arena in late December. At the moment, SKA occupy second spot Western Conference, seven points behind CSKA and four ahead of Jokerit. Jokerit, however, do have a game in hand.
SKA have also already qualified for the Gagarin Cup playoffs.
POINTS LEADERS IN LAST FIVE KHL MATCHES
Kirill Semyonov: 7 (1+6) points
Sergei Shumakov: 5 (3+2) points
Vyacheslav Voynov: 5 (0+4) points
25-year-old Kirill Semyonov is enjoying a career-high season with Avangard, registering a grand total of 41 (14+27) points for the Omsk club. Talented defenseman Vyacheslav Voynov, who won the Gagarin Cup with SKA in 2017, has been excellent form Avangard from the blue line with a large 37 (10+27) points to his name, while forwards Sergei Shumakov (35 points) and Taylor Beck (32 points) are also in the midst of productive campaigns.
Igor Bobkov, a winner of the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship with the Russian national team, is considered as Avangard's number one goalkeeper, tallying a save percentage of 93.3%, a goals against average of 1.68 and five shutouts in 41 matches. Former Ak Bars star Emil Garipov is getting back on track after a tough season.
Puck drop at the Saint Petersburg Ice Palace is scheduled for 19:30 local time. KHL TV and Channel 78 will provide a live television broadcast in Russia, while you can also read text updates on our official Twitter account.