Welcome to the regular championship of the Continental Hockey League 2023/2024. The fifth game of the day holds another opportunity for Vityaz to break free from the last place in the Western Conference. They will host Avtomobilist from Yekaterinburg in their native Podmoskovye.
The team hailing from the beautiful city in the Moscow Region began the season on a notoriously poor note, coming off as the worst team in the league in terms of both points and gameplay. However, after some turbulence and coach changes, they have managed to right the ship. Now, Vityaz holds some contention, perhaps aiming for the playoffs, with their primary goal to escape the last spot in the conference.
Post-break, Vityaz participated in three encounters, losing two to Dynamo Minsk with a score of 1:4 and Lokomotiv with a score of 2:5. Nevertheless, in their last game, they managed to pull off a victory against Dynamo Minsk, scoring 5:4 despite a 3:4 loss in the third period. Currently, Vityaz ranks 11th in the conference, with a score of 33 points after 43 matches. These points have been garnered through 10 main time victories, four in overtime, and five defeats gaining them a single point. The remaining 24 games were lost without additional points. Vityaz is still the worst Western team in terms of goals scored, with 92. The number of goals conceded is only slightly better, with the team ranking second from the bottom with a total of 150 goals conceded.
The team from the capital of the Sverdlovsk Region had been playing poorly right before the break, with rumors circulating about Nikolay Zavarukhin being dismissed. However, two matches pre-break saw Avtomobilist achieving victories over SKA and Salavat Yulaev. Post-break, they managed to secure a single point against Traktor in a match where a victory was expected. Following this, they championed three consecutive matches against Ak Bars, Lada, and Dynamo from Minsk, therefore only losing a singular point due to an unfortunate mistake in the last six encounters.
Currently, Avtomobilist stands at the sixth spot in the conference, accruing 53 points after 45 matches. The team earned these points through 16 main time wins, eight overtime wins, and five defeats resulting in a single point. The remaining 16 games were lost without any additional points. The Yekaterinburg team is the third in the East for conceded goals with 102, and the seventh in terms of scored goals, with a total of 107.
Vityaz and Avtomobilist have had 26 matches in the past, with Vityaz only winning nine games and Avtomobilist coming out on top in the remaining 17. In this season, Avtomobilist proved stronger with a score of 3:2 in overtime.
Admittedly, Avtomobilist is the favourites in this match. Nevertheless, the odds for them winning are decent at 2.10, while the ones for Vityaz winning stand at 3.20. In this scenario, I would suggest picking Avtomobilist's victory, as Nikolai Zavarukhin's team currently appears to be much stronger.
If you're looking for an even safer bet, opt for the total over (4.5) for 1.68. Both Vityaz and Avtomobilist have been playing high-scoring matches recently, so reaching a total of five goals between them is certainly achievable.