5. SKA, 27 matches, 13 regulation victories, 1 overtime victory, 3 penalty shootout victories, 5 regulation defeats, 2 overtime defeats, 3 penalty shootout defeats, goal difference 87-60, 39 points
11. Lokomotiv, 28 matches, 13 regulation victories, 1 overtime victory, 9 regulation defeats, 2 overtime defeats, 3 penalty shootout defeats, goal difference 78-68, 33 points
This will be the third 2021/2022 KHL regular season meeting between these teams. On September 4, SKA defeated Lokomotiv 4:3 after a penalty shootout in Yaroslavl with Vasily Tokranov, Joonas Kemppainen and Marat Khusnutdinov scoring in regulation, before another goal from Khusnutdinov subsequently secured a slender 1:0 victory for our team in Saint Petersburg on October 5. Swedish goaltender Lars Johansson stopped all 21 Lokomotiv shots he faced in the second game.
Lokomotiv have struggled for consistency throughout the campaign to date. When they swapped head coach Andrei Skabelka for Igor Nikitin earlier in the season, Lokomotiv expected to see a major improvement in results, but that is yet to materialise. At the moment, the Yaroslavl-based outfit are sitting in sixth place of the Western Conference, trailing leaders Jokerit Helsinki by seven points.
Nikitin’s men have indeed lost six of their past 10 matches to Admiral Vladivostok (home, 1:3), Salavat Yulaev Ufa (away, 3:4 SO), Dynamo Moscow (away, 1:4), Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (home, 1:2 OT), Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (away, 2:3) and Amur Khabarovsk (home, 3:4 SO). To their credit, though, Lokomotiv are coming off the back of an impressive 7:3 triumph over Dinamo Minsk in Belarus on Monday, a game which saw forward Maxim Shalunov notch a hat-trick.
One of Lokomotiv’s main strengths is that they can rely on all four lines to make vital attacking contributions. Since arriving from the NHL, experienced 33-year-old forward Artyom Anisimov has been in excellent form, tallying seven (2+5) points in nine appearances. Fellow forwards Denis Alexeev (8+11), Pavel Kraskovsky (8+8), Reid Boucher (7+9) and Shalunov (8+7) are also players to keep a particular eye on, while the leading defensive partnership of Rushan Rafikov (4+8) and Alexei Marchenko (3+14) has been lethal at the blue line. We can expect Lokomotiv to compete in a fast manner without taking any major risks.
It's worth pointing out that Lokomotiv possess the league’s joint worst penalty kill alongside Kunlun Red Star Beijing (72.7%). For comparison, SKA’s penalty kill effectiveness stands at 79.2%.
In the run up to the international break, SKA had suffered three successive losses to Metallurg Magnitogorsk (home, 2:3 SO), Spartak Moscow (home, 1:2 OT) and CSKA Moscow (away, 0:4). However, despite those setbacks, our players are still only one point behind Jokerit with one game in hand. Forward Andrei Kuzmenko continues to be our leading scorer with 28 (10+18) points in 25 matches.
34-year-old forward Leo Komarov, who recently penned a two-year deal with SKA after leaving the New York Islanders in the NHL, has been involved in the pre-match preparations.
Lars Johansson: 20 matches, 12 wins, 5 defeats, 419 saves made, 29 goals conceded, save percentage 93.5%, goals against average 1.54, 7 shutouts
Alexander Samonov: 7 matches, 3 wins, 3 defeats, 105 saves made, 18 goals conceded, save percentage 85.4%, goals against average 3.87
Yaroslav Askarov: 5 matches, 2 wins, 2 defeats, 75 saves made, 8 goals conceded, save percentage 90.4%, goals against average 2.01
Edward Pasquale: 25 matches, 12 wins, 13 defeats, 568 saves made, 54 goals conceded, save percentage 91.3%, goals against average 2.15, 1 shutout
Daniil Isaev: 3 matches, 2 wins, 1 defeat, 59 saves made, 8 goals conceded, save percentage 88.1%, goals against average 2.68
WHERE TO WATCH
Puck-drop at the Saint Petersburg Ice Palace is scheduled for 19:30 local time. KHL PRIME and Channel 78 will provide a television broadcast in Russia, whereas you can watch a live video on the KHL’s official website worldwide. Text updates will be available on our Twitter account.