Continental Hockey League regular championship 2023/2024. The third and final match of the game day, a battle for Khmelevsky and Samonov, if rumours and insiders are to be believed. CSKA in Moscow will be examining potentially their future players, who arrived with Salavat Yulaev from Moscow.
A key concern during the break was CSKA's game plan to improve their standing in the leaderboard. Expectations were high but appear to have worsened – prior to the break CSKA had two consecutive victories, which many believed to be a turning point. However, post-break CSKA only managed to accumulate one point out of six potential ones, first losing to Dinamo then to SKA, these games finishing with a collective score of 3:10. In the most recent match they were defeated in overtime by Lokomotiv, with a score of 1:2.
CSKA currently needs to make urgent decisions as the top-4 is slipping further away. At present, CSKA is ranked sixth on the leaderboard after 42 matches, bagging 47 points. These points have been earned by 19 regular-time wins, three outside of it, and three overtime losses. The remaining 17 matches were lost without gaining any additional points. However, it's not all bad news as they rank third in the conference and have 96 goals. They're underperforming in the scoring department, only ranking sixth in the conference with 120 goals.
In contrast to CSKA, Salavat Yulaev had games with two East conference outsiders and managed to get three of four possible points. Given who the competitors were, it can be said that Salavat Yulaev probably lost a point more than they gained. They defeated Barys 5:4 and then lost to Admiral 1:2 on penalties. So their current shape is unpredictable and the CSKA game will be the first real test after the break. Currently, Salavat Yulaev ranks third in their conference with 53 points after 41 matches.
This point score was achieved by 23 standard-time victories, two overtime victories, and three losses with one point. They lost the remaining 13 games without any extra points. In terms of goals conceded, the Ufa team lead the East - 83 goals, but they are only third on goals scored in the conference with only 117 goals.
CSKA and Salavat Yulaev have competed in 28 matches. 18 of these clashes were won by the army club, with the Ufa team only winning 10 games. The teams have not met this season.
Interestingly, despite their issues, CSKA is still considered the favourite in this match by Betsiti, with the betting odds at 2.16 for their win while Salavat Yulaev's victory odds are at 3.10. I agree with the bookmakers here and suggest backing the army club's victory – after disappointing initial matches, they'll be eager to redeem themselves, especially in front of a home crowd.
A more compelling option seems to be TO (4.5) for 1.87. Both teams did not manage to hit this total in their last matches, but I believe that they can surely score at least five goals in their personal meeting.