At 32, soon to be 33, many players have already hit their peak and start thinking about what they are going to do once they hung 'em up, as the slang dictates. But what to do when you're at a mere ten days to your 33rd birthday and become the KHL's top scorer for the first time in your career? A career that saw you winning multiple gold medals on the international stage and two Gagarin Cups? Vadim Shipachyov had a career year with the Blue-and-Whites, scoring 65 (17+48) points in 61 regular-season games. It's not his best result in the KHL, as he scored 76 in 2016-17 and 68 last year, but for the first time, as said, the Cherepovets-native center finished on top of the scoring race.
Moreover, the productive forward is one of the only five players to have scored at least 200 goals in their KHL career. The other four are Sergei Mozyakin, Danis Zaripov, Nigel Dawes, and Mikhail Varnakov. Metallurg's Mozyakin is also the only player to have amassed more points (and assists) than Shipachyov in the league's history, with 735 against 570 - 892 against 658 if considering the playoffs as well. Shipachyov's season is even more impressive if considering other stats. The Blue-and-Whites forward is the third in average time on ice, the fifth in shooting percentage (among the players with at least 100 shots), and the fourth in plus/minus rating. This year, Shipachyov also had his sixth appearance at the KHL All-Star Game.
Playing at the other big hockey avenue in Moscow, Kirill Kaprizov had a season impressive as Shipachyov's. Only Sergei Mozyakin could win back-to-back goal-scoring titles (he did it twice, in 2013 and 2014, and 2016 and 2017. Mozyakin and Kaprizov are the only players in the league's history to have won this race more than once. While he broke no records with his 30- and 33-goal campaigns, Kaprizov had an impressive 63 goals in two years, cementing his position as one of the league's top talents. Moreover, Kaprizov also led the league in powerplay goals and shooting percentage (among the players with at least 100 shots). His 62 (33+29) points were his best in his career, and he trailed only Mat Robinson in the plus/minus department. However, despite his fantastic season, Kirill wasn't able to beat Radulov's 71-, 68-, and 65-point campaign in the KHL, with his 19-20 campaign being the fourth-best ever for the Red Army in the league. However, his 33 goals are a record for CSKA in the KHL era for single-season goals scored. Kaprizov enters the playoffs on a five-game scoring streak: he's in great shape, and Torpedo should pay extra attention to the author of the gold-clinching goal in PyeongChang in 2018 – Kaprizov is always ready to put the puck in the net.
At the VTB Arena Dynamo Moscow will face Spartak in a thrilling derby that also sees bench boss Oleg Znarok facing his past team. With the regular-season kings in their lineup, CSKA and Dynamo have a great chance to pass their first turn and perhaps clash later on.