On Tuesday, November 16, the capital's Megasport Arena will host the next regular KHL championship match. Moscow Spartak and Kazan Ak Bars will be on the ice. The meeting will begin at 19:30 Moscow time.
- AK Bars
- League Betting Odds
The reds and whites are still not surprising, demonstrating the same average level of recent years. The change of the head coach has not yet brought any special dividends, the debut of Boris Mironov as an independent coach of the KHL club cannot be called a failure, but there has not yet been a qualitative breakthrough in Spartak's game. At the same time, the composition of the red and white is quite competitive, there are a number of hockey players (Lekhtera, Shirokov, Virtanen, Loktionov, Khokhlachev) around whom a completely combat-ready team can be created.
A pause in the championship should go into the hands of Spartak, as the last matches of the red and white frankly failed. The 3: 4 defeat at home from the bloodless Dynamo Minsk, which played that match in three fives, was replaced by an even more impersonal game against Novosibirsk Siberia. Another home defeat 0: 3 and before the red and white the prospect loomed in the near future to be outside the Cup eight. Now Spartak just closes the play-off zone in the West, taking the 8th place with 30 points. The main competitor of Spartak, the Nizhny Novgorod Torpedo, is one point behind, but at the same time has a match in reserve.
Compared to previous seasons, Ak Bars has noticeably surrendered, resignedly giving up the leadership in the East to other teams. This is quite unusual, because of all his teams, Kvartalnov squeezed the maximum from the start of the season. To some extent, this could be expected, during the summer off-season, the Barsov roster has noticeably updated and newcomers need time to get used to the specifics of Dmitry Kvartalnov's game requirements. So far, most of the points are gained due to the high individual skill of individual hockey players, while team interactions leave much to be desired. Most do not work, the percentage of realization 13.2 is catastrophically far from the best indicators of the League, the defense periodically fails – 65 goals conceded in 28 games. At the same time, it is not worth deleting Ak Bars from the number of contenders for the Gagarin Cup, the team can potentially add at any time, since there are prospects for growth.
Before the break in the championship, Barça lost three of the five matches played, losing, including to direct competitors in the Eastern Conference, Traktor 0-5 and Magnitogorsk Metallurg 1-3. This did not particularly affect the tournament prospects, Ak Bars settled tightly in fourth position, having 36 points scored in its assets. The closest landmark is Ufa Salavat Yulaev, who is in third place with 38 points.
For Spartak, the Kazan club is traditionally an inconvenient opponent, the red and white ones have beaten Barsov only 8 times during the entire existence of the KHL. For comparison, Ak Bars has 17 victories, with a goal difference of 72 to 47. The rivals have already met this season, having played in Kazan at the end of September. Ak Bars confidently won 3-1, scoring a goal in each period.
League Betting Odds
The bookmaker leaves each of the teams a chance for success, setting the following odds on the outcome of the match: Spartak's victory 2.65, draw outcome – 3.95, Ak Bars victory – 2.36. In terms of expected performance, the following quotes are proposed: TB (4.5) – 1.85, TM (4.5) – 1.92.
Both Spartak and Ak Bars can hardly be called attacking teams this season. Spartak plays number two in most matches, relying on counterattacking hockey, while Ak Bars is often let down by poor implementation. It is unlikely that something will change dramatically during a week's pause, so for now everything speaks of the “grassroots” course of the match, where every puck thrown will be worth its weight in gold. Our forecast is TM (5) with a coefficient of 1.67.