Relatively restful

22 November 2023

The Dragons have a rare chance to recuperate in a frantic schedule. This week, our guys have just one game – but it promises to be a belter. We’re welcoming Ak Bars to Mytishchi on Thursday, with a chance to test ourselves against a man well on his way to becoming the KHL’s all-time leading scorer. The Tatars have less preparation time for this game, since they play at Dynamo on Tuesday. That said, Red Star is hardly lacking for ice time, having played a league-leading 36 times this season already.

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Ak Bars Kazan, Nov. 23, 1930 Moscow Time

Last time out: We visited Kazan in September and suffered our first loss of the season. Jack Rodewald’s goal was the only consolation in a 1-5 loss. Things weren’t much better last time Ak Bars came to use, with the visitor winning by the same scoreline in Mytishchi back in February.

Familiar faces: None

Background: That future record-breaker is, of course, Vadim Shipachyov. Last week he became only the second player to reach 900 points in KHL play. Sergei Mozyakin got there before him, but the Metallurg legend’s total in the KHL is 928 – well within Shipachyov’s reach this season (Mozyakin, of course, played several seasons before the KHL was formed, giving him 1,212 points in top flight Russian hockey; Shipachyov, by contrast, had one Russian Superleague assist for Severstal as a rookie).

However, recent form is not encouraging for Zinetula Bilyaletdinov’s team. After Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Dynamo in Moscow, Ak Bars has just one win in six – that was at home to the Blue-and-Whites, with Shipachyov getting a goal and an assist. By contrast, the Dragons have won three of the last five, and pushed in-form opponents all the way before losing high-scoring games in Omsk and Yaroslavl. While Shipachyov’s four points in five games leads Ak Bars for recent scoring, his tally is matched by our defenseman Kyle Wood (3+1) and bettered by Tyler Wong (4+3). There’s no denying that a Red Star win would be an upset, but perhaps not as big a surprise as the bookmakers might try to tell you.

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