Today, the KHL World Games will see their fourth and last chapter as Dinamo Riga faces CSKA Moscow at the Hallenstadion in Zurich at 7.30 PM.
On Monday, finally, the KHL World Games had a tight hockey game as SKA St. Petersburgh had to put on a true battle to get past Dinamo Riga with a 3:1 win – with the third goal being scored on an empty net and a couple of Riga’s attempts hitting the goalposts. The team led by Girts Ankipans gave SKA a good run for their money and will look forward to repeating such a strong performance against CSKA.
On the other hand, CSKA is on a hot streak, having won the latest 13 games, most recently with a solid home success against Vityaz with a 3:1 score. Not only usual suspects Mikhail Grigorenko, Kirill Kaprizov, and Linden Vey are regularly finding the net, but also other players like Greg Scott and Konstantin Okulov are in great shape and eager to show their worth.
Currently, CSKA tops the whole league with 56 points – a substantial five-point advantage over SKA St. Petersburg, who is trailing behind the Red Army in the Western Conference standings. In spite of losing to SKA on Monday, Dinamo Riga is also in playoff places with 30 points – one more than eighth seed HC Dynamo.
Dinamo Riga’s head coach Girts Ankipans will miss an important piece of his puzzle as Swedish frontman Linus Videll is injured and didn’t travel with the team to Switzerland. CSKA Moscow will also count on reinforcements from the NHL: former Florida Panthers forward Maxim Mamin played his first game with his old-new team on Monday and will be in the lineup tonight.
CSKA and Dinamo Riga don’t meet each other since late 2017. The teams met most recently on December 5, and the game was decided by a power-play third-period goal by Mat Robinson. He was assisted by Kirill Petrov and Bogdan Kiselevich – both leaving the Red Army this summer. To find the latest Dinamo Riga win, we need to travel back to the 2013-2014 season. On October 23, 2013, Dinamo defeated CSKA 4:3 in Riga. Doubles from Paul Szczechura and Roberts Bukarts gave joy to a packed Arena Riga. Current Riga captain Gints Meija had a pair of helpers in the game.
Even without Linus Videll, Dinamo Riga’s power-play can be a tough beast to deal with, primarily because of defenseman Matt Maione. But Swede will miss also this contest due to injury. Colton Gillies played well against SKA, and his mobility and on-ice presence will be fundamental for the team led by Girts Ankipans.
The whole CSKA Moscow roster could be written in any “players to watch” section. The first line made up of Kirill Kaprizov, Linden Vey, and Mikhail Grigorenko is in great shape, but so is most of the roster – especially considering the 13 straight wins.
Hopefully, the Hallenstadion Arena in Zurich will see another exciting game with plenty of drama. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 7.30 PM, local time.