17. Vityaz, 47 matches, 17 regulation victories, 3 overtime victories, 3 penalty shootout victories, 21 regulation defeats, 1 overtime defeat, 2 penalty shootout defeats, goal difference 122-131, 49 points
4. SKA, 48 matches, 25 regulation victories, 1 overtime victory, 2 penalty shootout victories, 12 regulation defeats, 4 overtime defeats, 4 penalty shootout defeats, goal difference 143-107, 64 points
Vityaz are currently in the midst of a gritty battle to reach the 2020/2021 KHL Gagarin Cup playoffs. With 47 matches in the books, Mikhail Kravets’ troops occupy ninth position of the Western Conference with 49 points on the board, only trailing eighth-placed Spartak Moscow by the single point. Severstal Cherepovets (7th place, 52 points), Jokerit Helsinki (6th place, 53 points) and Dinamo Minsk (5th place, 55 points) are also within touching distance.
The top eight clubs of each conference will progress to the playoffs.
Vityaz have been in promising form of late. In their past five games, the Podolsk-based organisation have tallied important wins against Neftekhimik (home, 3:0), HC Sochi (away, 2:1 OT) and Sibir Novosibirsk (home, 3:1), while conceding narrow defeats to Dynamo Moscow and Traktor Chelyabinsk on the road by a score of 1:2. It’s worth noting that former SKA representatives Ilya Ezhov (goalkeeper, 91.8%, 2.62, 2 shutouts), Svyatoslav Grebenshchikov (forward, 8+8), Alexander Dergachyov (forward, 9+6), Ivan Larichev (forward, 4+7) and Evgeny Artyukhin (forward, 2+2) are all on Vityaz’s books.
This will be the third meeting between these two sides this season. On October 19, SKA defeated Vityaz 5:1 in Saint Petersburg with Kirill Marchenko, Vladislav Kamenev, Joonas Kemppainen, Miro Aaltonen and Yakov Trenin all scoring, before our team subsequently thrashed the Moscow Region club 8:1 in Podolsk on November 12. Aaltonen, Lukas Bengtsson, Igor Ozhiganov, Vasily Tokranov, Vasily Podkolzin, Ivan Morozov and Kemppainen hit the jackpot in that particular game.
Following a disappointing 1:3 setback to CSKA in Moscow, SKA got back to winning ways on Tuesday in Yekaterinburg, beating Avtomobilist 3:1 at the Uralets Arena with a confident performance. Anton Burdasov, Morozov and Maxim Groshev secured the key victory with three beautiful goals during a fantastic second period.
POINTS LEADERS IN LAST FIVE MATCHES
Justin Danforth: 5 (2+3) points
Kaspars Daugavins: 4 (2+2) points
Mattias Tedenby: 3 (2+1) points
Andrei Kuzmenko: 4 (3+1) points
Anton Burdasov: 4 (1+3) points
Ivan Morozov: 3 (1+2) points
In goal, 34-year-old veteran Ezhov has been the Vityaz starter in their most recent two games, only conceding a combined total of two goals in their wins against Sochi and Sibir. Anton Todykov (17 matches, 91.8%, 2.96, 1 shutout) is often used as Vityaz’s second-choice goaltender.
Magnus Hellberg (16 matches, 92.8%, 2.00, 2 shutouts) was impressive in the Urals earlier this week, stopping 18 of the 19 Avtomobilist shots he faced to fire SKA to victory. 18-year-old Yaroslav Askarov (9 matches, 95.1%, 1.21, 1 shutout) sat on the bench in that match.
WHERE TO WATCH
Puck-drop at the Vityaz Ice Palace is scheduled for 19:30 local time in Podolsk. KHL TV HD and Channel 78 (Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Region only) will provide a television broadcast in Russia, whereas you can purchase a live video on the KHL’s official website worldwide. Text updates can be found on our Twitter account.