Less than 24 hours after an unfortunate loss to Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (1:2 after shootout), HC SLOVAN Bratislava welcomes one of the biggest Russian clubs to the Slovnaft Arena as Ak Bars Kazan fly into Bratislava. The game begins at 17:30 CET.
Ak Bars won the Gagarin Cup in 2009 and 2010, and have the highest ambitions this season to get a third championship. Head coach Valeri Belov has assembled a skilled team which currently sits top of the Eastern Conference, and behind only SKA St. Petersburg and Dinamo Moscow in the overall standings. The most productive player for Ak Bars so far this season is Russian hockey icon and former Pittsburgh Penguins forward Alexei Morozov. The 35 year old forward has racked up 27 points in 35 games. Just a point behind him is his long time team mate Danis Zaripov, with Niko Kapanen a further six points back. In defence, the pairing of Nikulin and Medvedev is one of the best in the KHL, while in goal, Ak Bars have Konstantin Barulin, who currently has figures of 1.92 goals against and a 93.9 save percentage.
HC SLOVAN know what it takes to defeat Ak Bars, as in mid-October, they came away from the Tatneft Arena with two points from a 3:2 shootout victory. Miroslav Šatan starred in the shootout, scoring twice. However, the team could have come away with three points instead of two, as Ak Bars equalised with three minutes to go. The goal scorers for HC SLOVAN in the game were Marko Daňo and Martin Štajnoch.
Last five games for Ak Bars Kazan:
CSKA Moscow – AK Bars Kazan 1:2
AK Bars Kazan – Amur Khabarovsk 4:3
AK Bars Kazan – Sibir Novosibirsk 5:4 (shootout)
Atlant Mytishchi – Ak Bars Kazan 2:3
Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod – AK Bars Kazan 3:1