It's the regular season of the 2023/2024 Continental Hockey League. This is the second game of the day as teams from different halves of the leaderboard square off. Admiral, currently trailing at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, will be hosting Avangard Omsk, who, on the contrary, are fighting for the top spot.
In December, hope resurfaced that Leonid Tambiev had turned the tide, giving Admiral a shot at the playoffs. However, it seems to be extinguished now, at the start of January 2024. Admiral have experienced five consecutive losses, two of them with an additional point. Admiral have been defeated by Ak Bars, Sibir and Avangard. While the latter might be on a different part of the leaderboard, both Ak Bars and Sibir are direct competitors for a playoff slot and Admiral lost to them.
At the moment, Admiral sits 12th in the standings, picking up 39 points from 47 games. These points were due to eight regulation wins, six wins beyond regulation, and 11 losses with a point. The other 22 games were lost with no bonus points. The Vladivostok team has the fewest goals in the East – 97. As for the goals conceded, Admiral is doing slightly better – the fourth worst and let in 133 goals.
Avangard Omsk, on the other hand, continues striving to snatch the top spot in the East. Currently, they are in a decent position, effectively leading the conference in terms of lost points. However, they still need to make up for these dropped points, which has been a struggle in recent games. An important note, key player Vladimir Tkachev, who returned only in the last two matches, has been absent. But with his return, Avangard has managed to secure vital victories and keep Metallurg within a three-point distance.
These points can still be recovered by Avangard, thanks to their two games in hand. Currently, Avangard sits second in the conference, collecting 65 points from 47 games. These points have been secured from 19 regulation wins, 12 wins beyond and three losses with a point. The remaining 13 games were lost with no bonus points. Avangard is third in the conference for goals scored – 140, whilst defensively, they rank only eighth, having conceded 123 goals.
Admiral and Avangard have contested 38 matches so far. From these, 26 games were claimed by Avangard, while Admiral triumphed in 12 encounters. This season, Avangard won all three of their contests: 2:1 in a shootout, 4:3 in overtime and again 2:1 in overtime on Monday.
Yet, the odds seem to favor Avangard to finally secure a win in regulation time.
As for other possibilities, the TO (4.5) for 1.85 is rather appealing. True, the teams have only once exceeded this tally, but it's often the case that an offensively muted game is followed by a higher-scoring one.