20. Sochi, 39 matches, 9 regulation victories, 2 overtime victories, 22 regulation defeats, 4 overtime defeats, 2 penalty shootout defeats, goal difference 83-130, 28 points
3. SKA, 40 matches, 22 regulation victories, 1 overtime victory, 2 penalty shootout victories, 9 regulation defeats, 2 overtime defeats, 4 penalty shootout defeats, goal difference 125-88, 56 points
Sochi are enduring a somewhat tough 2020/2021 KHL campaign. Currently coached by Evgeny Stavrovsky, the Black Sea outfit are already close to being out of the playoff picture, languishing in 10th position of the Western Conference with a mere 28 points to their name and only nine wins in regulation time 39 games.
Nevertheless, despite their underwhelming results, Sochi certainly cannot be underestimated. Largely relying on young talents, the Leopards do like to display an aggressive, attack-minded brand of ice hockey, and it’s worth noting that former SKA defensemen Daniil Miromanov (8+15), Yury Alexandrov (3+10) David Rundblad (3+8), Vladislav Valentsov (1+0) and Georgy Solyannikov (1+0), as well as forwards Nikita Tochitsky (5+13), Kirill Petkov (3+3), Vasily Glotov (3+2), Ivan Volodin (2+2), Danila Kvartalnov (0+3), Vladislav Kurbatov (0+0) and Bogdan Yakimov (0+0), are all on their books. Forward Sergei Shmelyov is Sochi’s danger man with an impressive 26 (10+16) points on the board from 39 appearances.
Sochi have recently penned a contract with promising 21-year-old forward Pavel Shen.
In their last five matches, Sochi have claimed two victories against Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (4:2) at home and Dinamo Riga (6:5 OT) on the road, while losing to Spartak (3:4) on home ice , Torpedo (1:4) in Nizhny Novgorod and Lokomotiv (3:6) in Yaroslavl.
So far, Sochi and SKA have met twice this season in competitive games, with our team winning on both occasions by scores of 4:3 (home) and 4:1 (away) respectively.
Since the recent international break ended, SKA have been in solid form, beating CSKA Moscow (4:3 SO) and Severstal Cherepovets (2:0) in Saint Petersburg before tallying one point in Moscow against Dynamo (1:2 OT). SKA are only four points behind first-placed CSKA in the conference.
POINTS LEADERS IN LAST FIVE MATCHES
Igor Rudenkov: 7 (2+5) points
Daniil Miromanov: 5 (2+3) points
German Rubtsov: 5 (2+3) points
Vladimir Tkachyov: 6 (2+4) points
Andrei Kuzmenko: 4 (2+2) points
Vasily Tokranov: 4 (0+4) points
Between the pipes, Maxim Tretyak has been Sochi’s starting goalkeeper for the majority of the season, with the 24-year-old recording an 89.9% save percentage, a goals against average of 3.16 and one shutout in 21 matches. Alexei Krasikov (6 matches, 89.9%, 3.04) and Ivan Kulbakov (3 matches, 89.4%, 4.12) are used as back-ups to Tretyak.
Alexander Samonov, who stopped 22 of the 24 shots he faced against Dynamo Moscow on Saturday, boasts a save percentage of 91.0% and a 2.39 goals against average from his 11 games to date. Magnus Hellberg (14 matches, 93.3%, 1.92, 2 shutouts) was left out of the squad in the Russian capital after picking up a superb shutout against Severstal last week, while 18-year-old Yaroslav Askarov (7 matches, 96.2%, 0.96, 1 shutout) is with the junior Russian national team at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship in Canada.
WHERE TO WATCH
Puck-drop at the Bolshoy Ice Dome is scheduled for 19:30 local time. Channel 78 will provide a television broadcast in Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Region, whereas you can purchase a live video from the KHL’s official website worldwide. Text updates will be available on our Twitter account.