The rivals SKA and CSKA approach their first “army derby” of the season with three victories. CSKA has fewer losses, but it does not really matter. A remake of last year’s final of the Western Conference looks especially attractive against the backdrop of significant changes in St. Petersburg. Let’s look into the SKA vs CSKA prediction.
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SKA Previous Matches
SKA replaced the coach and pretty significantly went over the backbone due to the departure of crucial several hockey players in the NHL. Naturally, after such a talk about some kind of stability in the attack is not necessary. Alexei Kudashov will need time to redistribute the load and select the optimal combinations.
The calendar was not the easiest, all teams aim at least for the playoffs. SKA accelerated the resignation of Josef Yandach from Magnitogorsk, recouped from 1: 3 and snatched a victory in Chelyabinsk (4: 3OT). Then followed a defeat in Yekaterinburg (2: 5): there SKA really looked worse but did not deserve beating. Special teams let them down.
The start of the regular season turned out to be quite productive for the team. The final score with “Auto” is not too annoying, the problem is different – the Petersburgers cannot manage to show some solid hockey for 60 minutes. The meeting with Sibir (4: 2) in this regard turned out to be indicative.
The first period for SKA was mediocre, but after the break, they completely crushed the opponent and scored three goals: two on the powerplay and one after an interception in the opponent’s zone. But they could not do without adventures. A series of 2-minute penalties of the hosts helped “Sibir” to pick themselves up and score two goals.
CSKA Previous Matches
Swings in the play are a regular occurrence, especially at the start of the season after the change of coach and the departure of several leaders. But specifically in the match against CSKA Moscow, this factor risks being the key. CSKA is the best in the league to find and use the mistakes of others and punish for the loss of concentration.
The only advantage of the hosts is the calendar. They will hold a second consecutive meeting on their ice. CSKA, in turn, will visit St. Petersburg after traveling on the route Cherepovets – Nizhny Novgorod. Igor Nikitin will probably use the whole length of the bench and rotate.
The most obvious option is a goal in the first 10 minutes. Both coaches are primarily distinguished by their ability to build a defense, so the debut is unlikely to turn out eventful. Most likely, the puck will often get stuck in the middle zone, and special teams, inspirations of leaders will become a source of sharpness.
CSKA lost in Nizhny Novgorod (1: 2OT), clearly keeping in mind a duel with SKA. Nikitin himself hinted at this at a press conference. Red-blue rarely lose two matches in a row in the regular season, and their core players are playing better.
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