KHL season started few days ago and the schedule has already one huge fixture to offer between two Russian clubs Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg and SKA St. Petersburg. Last year both teams had a deep run in the playoffs. Avtomobilist lost in conference semifinals and SKA lost in conference finals. Both teams have played twice already and are still yet to lose a game. Both teams have one win after regular time and one win after overtime.
Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg v SKA St. Petersburg – Rosters
Both of the teams had some remarkable changes in their rosters coming into this season. Avtomobilist lost their two foreign stars in Stephane Da Costa and Francis Pare. Da Costa scored 48 points in 56 games, while Pare 35 points in 58 games. Avtomobilist replaced their foreign duo with three massive signings as Pavel Datsyuk, Peter Holland and Brooks Macek joined them for this season.
Pavel Datsyuk, former NHL-star and Detroit Red Wings icon joined the team from SKA St. Petersburg. Datsyuk scored 42 points in 54 games last season and he was the captain of the team. Peter Holland joined Avtomobilist from AHL. 28-year-old center started last season with Hartford Wolf Pack, but finished the season with Rockford IceHogs. Holland played 52 games with Hartford and scored impressive 49 points. In 21 games played in Rockford, Holland got 16 points. Brooks Macek joined the team from Chicago Wolves, where he scored 60 points in 64 games.
SKA lost best player of the last season
SKA St. Petersburg lost the best player of last season as Nikita Gusev joined Vegas Golden Knights at the end of the KHL season. Gusev had a monster season scoring 82 (17+65) points in 62 games in regular season and 19 points in 18 playoff games. Other big names SKA lost were goalie Igor Shestyorkin, forwards Nikolai Prokhorkin & Pavel Datsyuk and defenseman Patrik Hersley. SKA signed multiple big names to replace these men. Biggest signings were Finnish forwards Jori Lehterä and Joonas Kemppainen and Russian forwards Vladimir Tkachyov and Dmitri Kagarlitsky.
Joonas Kemppainen joined SKA from Salavat Yulaev where he scored 33 points in 59 regular season games and 14 points in 17 playoff games. Vladimir Tkachyov also joined SKA from Salavat. 23-year-old talent scored 26 points in 53 games last season. Jori Lehterä spent last season with Philadelphia Flyers in NHL but didn’t manage to score more than 3 points in 27 games. Dmitri Kagarlitsky had awesome last season with Dynamo Moscow and scored 61 points in 61 games.
Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg v SKA St. Petersburg – Who’s hot?
Both teams have two players with 3 points in 2 games. Avtomobilist forwards Nigel Dawes and Brooks Macek both have 2 goals and one assist. From SKA St. Petersburg Vladimir Tkachyov and Sergei Plotnikov have three points. Tkachyov has two goals and one assist, while Plotnikov has one goal and two assists.
The whole SKA team has been on fire for a long time. In addition to their two regular season wins, they came into the season in 6 game winning streak in pre-season games. Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg has won both of their regular season games, but didn’t have a good run in pre-season games.
What to bet on Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg v SKA St. Petersburg?
Both of these teams are strong and Avtomobilist has some really dangerous players on their squad. But right now SKA is in better form and their roster has more depth and talent. Yekaterinburg was struggling against much weaker sides like Vityaz and Severstal in first two games, while SKA won Magnitogorsk and Traktor. SKA out shot their opponents comfortably and could have won both games with bigger margin as well. SKA scored twice on power play against Magnitogorsk. If the team have their power play working, Yekaterinburg is in trouble.
SKA is used to succeed and their form and flow will carry them to another victory in this one. SKA rarely gets odds around 2.00 so when they do, you just have to take a shot with it.
SKA St. Petersburg
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