To date, these two clubs have met on three occasions in the 2019/2020 KHL regular season, with SKA emerging victorious - not without problems - in all three games:
30.09.2019. Dinamo Riga - SKA - 0:3 (Zub 10:37, Dyblenko 40:39, Ketov 58:30)
03.11.2019. SKA - Dinamo Riga - 4:3 SO (Burdasov 04:19, Barabanov 21:40, Kuzmenko 39:14, Marchenko 65:00; Darzins 25:47, McMillan 28:30, 35:33)
30.11.2019. Dinamo Riga - SKA - 3:5 (Ashton 12:14, Balinskis 25:31, Darzins 37:35; Barabanov 33:19, Ketov 42:33, Burdasov 45:15, Yakupov 50:47, Belov, 58:54)
Dinamo Riga, languishing in 11th place of the Western Conference with 32 points on the board from 47 matches, initially made a positive start to 2020 with a 1:0 triumph over Barys in Latvia. However, since that game, Dinamo have suffered three successive defeats to Jokerit (0:7), Severstal (2:3 SO) and Salavat Yulaev (0:5), struggling to score while conceding plenty at the other end. The Latvians are now almost completely out of the playoff picture.
In truth, SKA have been rather unconvincing in the new year so far, losing to Jokerit (0:6) and Spartak Moscow (3:1) on the road while beating Dinamo Minsk 4:1 in Belarus. Nevertheless, on Sunday, SKA defeated conference rivals Dynamo Moscow 2:1 at the Saint Petersburg Ice Palace in overtime, a hugely important victory which should have given the team a well-needed confidence boost. Defensemen Igor Ozhiganov and Artyom Zub scored the two goals in that particular game.
POINTS LEADERS IN LAST FIVE KHL MATCHES
Kristaps Sotnieks: 1 (1+0) point
Kirill Slepets: 1(1+0) point
Emils Gegeris: 1 (1+0) point
Interestingly, young forward Kirill Slepets was a member of the Russian junior national team which won bronze at the 2019 World Junior Championship, with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl subsequently deciding to offload him to Dinamo Riga in November. So far, he has made 19 appearances for the Latvians, contributing with six (3+3) points.
Top scorer with 28 points, Lauris Darzins (9+19), has not travelled to Saint Petersburg for this game due to injury issues. Uvis Balinskis, Kristaps Sotnieks, Oskars Bartulis and Benjamin Marshall are their most productive defensemen with eight points each.
Alexander Salak (goalkeeper), Andrei Makarov (goalkeeper), Kristaps Zile (defenseman), Oskars Bartulis (defenseman), Kristaps Sotnieks (defenseman), Lauris Darzins (forward), Rihards Marenis (forward) and Vitalijs Pavlovs (forward) all miss this game through injury.
19-year-old Janis Voris (89.2%, 3.26) has been the Dinamo Riga starting goalkeeper for all matches in 2020.
Puck drop in Saint Petersburg is scheduled for 19:30 local time. Channel 78 will provide a live broadcast in Russia, and you can also read text on our official Twitter account.