Home stand awaits

13 February 2024

We’re turning into the home straight – quite literally. KRS has seven games left to play this season, and all but two of them are on home ice here in Mytishchi. We’re starting this week by welcoming CSKA, Lada and Dinamo Minsk to town. Then, next week, we finish it off with a home-and-away pair against Sochi, a trip to SKA’s new arena and a closing encounter with Vityaz.


CSKA Moscow, Feb. 13, 1930 Moscow time

Last time out: Back in September we picked up our now-customary OT win at home CSKA. Jack Rodewald’s second of the game snapped a 2-2 tie in the extras as we made it three consecutive home wins over the Muscovites.

Familiar faces: None

Background: The defending champion has not really lived up to its billing this season. After back-to-back Gagarin Cup triumphs, this year’s CSKA looks set to finish seventh in the Western Conference.

A recent rough run can be at least partially attributed to the absence of head coach Sergei Fedorov through illness. He was back behind the bench on Sunday and saw his players win 5-1 at Vityaz to snap a four-game skid. However, even when Fedorov has enjoyed a clean bill of health, his team has lacked the consistency we’re used to seeing. There have been no long winning runs this time, and even a free-scoring surge from late September through mid-October saw big wins (7-1 vs Sochi, 9-1 vs Vityaz) interspersed with struggles against that same Sochi team and losses against the likes of Admiral.

Lada Togliatti, Feb. 15, 1930 Moscow time

Last time out: Our first visit to Togliatti after Lada’s return to the KHL ended in a 1-5 loss. That was the first and only time the Motormen beat the Dragons in KHL play.

Familiar faces: KRS Goalie Alexander Lazushin had 31 games and 10 wins for Lada in 2017/18.

Background: Lada’s return to the KHL has gone well. Oleg Bratash’s team is currently seventh in the East, and is all but certain of a playoff place. In the past, that was by no means a certainly for Togliatti, so the campaign can be viewed as a success.

That said, after a very impressive start – the Motormen were pushing at the top of the Eastern Conference for a time – things have cooled a little. After early November brought a high point, with back-to-back wins over CSKA, Ak Bars and Spartak, Lada hit the skids. A run of one win in seven undermined the team’s form, and some injury issues further slowed the club’s progress.

Those injuries hit the offense, with Troy Josephs, Scott Kosmachuk and Sergei Shumakov all missing chunks of the season. All three are back now, and Josephs recently potted his 20th goal of the season to set a new club record.

Dinamo Minsk, Feb. 17, 1600 Moscow Time

Last time out: Ahead of our sixth and final meeting with the Bison this season, Red Star has three wins and two losses. The most recent encounter in Minsk saw our guys power to a 5-2 victory. The Foo brothers shared three goals and Devin Brosseau scored twice as we rallied from 0-2 and avenged a 1-5 loss on the previous day.

Familiar faces: Over the course of the season, we’ve recruited three forwards with links to Dinamo. Gemel Smith came to us direct from the Belarusian club, while Teemu Pulkkinen and Tyler Graovac both began their KHL careers in Minsk. Between them, they’ve contributed 32 (14+18) points for us.

Background: At the time of writing, Dinamo is still looking for the win it needs to clinch a playoff place. With six games left, Dmitry Kvartalnov’s team seems certain to progress to post season, but if it were to fail, the Dragons would be the only potential challenger for eighth place.

Throughout the campaign, Dinamo tended to alternate wins and losses. The longest winning streak to date was four games, the worst skid was five (and started with a 3-4 loss here in Mytishchi). From day to day, it’s not always clear which Dinamo will show up: back in January we played back-to-back games in Minsk and, after losing 5-1 the Dragons were down 0-2 early in the second. But the unpredictable Bison fell away and Red Star rallied to win 5-2. We can expect goals, with three of our five meetings this season producing seven markers. Alexander Volkov is the in-form forward for Dinamo, scoring in each of his last three games. Sam Anas leads the team in scoring and recently signed a contract extension, but is currently on the injured list.

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