7. SKA, 8 matches, 5 regulation victories, 1 penalty shootout victory, 2 regulation defeats, goal difference 29-15, 12 points
4. Salavat Yulaev, 8 matches, 7 regulation victories, 1 regulation defeat, goal difference 30-10, 14 points
Salavat Yulaev have practically been unstoppable so far in the 2021/2022 KHL regular season. In fantastic form, the Ufa-based outfit initially tallied seven successive wins in their opening seven games, defeating Barys (away, 5:1), Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg (away, 4:2), Metallurg Magnitogorsk (away, 7:2), Spartak Moscow (home, 2:1), Neftekhimik (home, 5:1), Kunlun Red Star Beijing (home, 5:1) and Dinamo Minsk (home, 1:0) with confident performances. However, on Tuesday, Salavat did concede their maiden defeat of the campaign in Cherepovets, coming up short against Severstal by a narrow score of 1:2. The winning goal was scored by Severstal’s Vladislav Kodola with a little less than two minutes remaining in the third period.
Coached by Finn Tomi Lamsa, this Salavat side certainly has a Finnish flavour to it, with their top line consisting of the dangerous Teemu Hartikainen (3+1), Sakari Manninen (3+3) and Markus Granlund (2+6). Always competing in an aggressive, fast manner, Salavat are capable of applying overwhelming pressure on their opponents with their quick approach, and the level of talent in their squad allows them to often take advantage of their scoring chances. Boasting a vastly experienced squad, Salavat do notably have former SKA players Andrei Zubarev (defenseman, 1+0), Dinar Khafizullin (defenseman, 0+1), Alexander Kadeikin (forward, 2+7), Pyotr Khokhryakov (forward, 1+1) and Viktor Tikhonov (forward, 0+1) on their books. Sergei Shmelyov (4+5) and Kadeikin are currently Salavat’s leading scorers with nine points each.
It’s also worth pointing out that ex-Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders forward Nikolai Kulyomin possesses seven points (6+1) from eight matches.
Due to an injury, Danish defenseman Philip Larsen hasn’t travelled to Saint Petersburg, however, on the other hand, talented 19-year-old forward Rodion Amirov is in line to make his maiden appearance of the KHL season for the Bashkir club.
SKA are coming off the back of three consecutive confidence-boosting victories against Spartak in Moscow (2:0), Sochi on the road (2:0) and Amur Khabarovsk at home (5:1). Anton Burdasov - twice - , Igor Ozhiganov, Kirill Marchenko and Joonas Kemppainen all hit the jackpot against Amur, while 19-year-old goaltender Yaroslav Askarov stopped 17 of the 18 shots he faced.
Last season, SKA defeated Salavat twice in the KHL, coming back from two goals down in both games to win 3:2 in overtime in Saint Petersburg and by the same score after a penalty shootout in Ufa.
Lars Johansson: 5 matches, 3 regulation victories, 91 saves made, save percentage 96.8%, goals against average 0.70, 2 shutouts
Alexander Samonov: 4 matches, 1 regulation victory, 1 penalty shootout victory, 2 regulation defeats, 70 saves made, save percentage 86.4%, goals against average 4.06
Yaroslav Askarov: 1 match, 1 regulation victory, 17 saves made, save percentage 94.4%, goals against average 1.00
Juha Metsola: 6 matches, 5 regulation victories, 1 regulation defeat, 149 saves made, save percentage 95.5%, goals against average 1.18, 1 shutout
Alexander Sharychenkov: 2 matches, 2 regulation victories, 42 saves made, save percentage 93.3%, goals against average 1.50
WHERE TO WATCH
Puck-drop is scheduled for 19:30 local time at the Saint Petersburg Ice Palace. Channel 78 and Match TV 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.