How Magnitogorsk Metallurg plays in the KHL playoffs in the 2021/2022 season: analytics, analysis, opinion

Metallurg lost the first two home matches to Avangard. 15 missed goals is weak, the defense of “Magnitka” looked completely disoriented and forgot all the game settings that could be. However, at 1: 6 in the second game there was a surge that could have led to the legendary comeback, but the dry third period, “Vanguard” seems to have shown that it was a momentary weakness.

“Metallurg” again did not spare the defense of “Vanguard”! “Magnitka” one step away from the final of the East

However, it turned out that this was a turning point in the series. In each of the next three matches, “Metallurg” scored five goals, missed the same number, but for all three games in total. “Magnitka” again looks like a team of September-October. Everything may still change, but in a couple of days Ilya Vorobyov and his assistants were able to rebuild a team that looked lost. What are the main components?

Most importantly – “Magnitka” did not fail to start. The fate of two home matches was decided after 20 minutes, when “Metallurg” looked on the field a faded shadow of himself. In away matches, Vorobyov’s team immediately started much tougher, no longer went to constant power struggles, as in lost matches, but always imposed on the opponent martial arts in any part of the field. The rollback almost disappeared from the tactical arsenal, “Magnitka” was happy to press the opponent.

Next, “Metallurg” did the almost impossible – surpassed Hartley’s team in blocked throws. Although blockchains have long been viewed with contempt in Enhael’s advanced statistics (you should have prevented the throw in principle, not to fall under it), they are especially important in the playoffs. Not all goalkeepers are comfortable playing in such a system, but Metallurg allowed Koshechkin to throw the first two matches almost without hindrance.

Photo: Maxim Shmakov,

In two matches in Magnitogorsk, Avangard blocked 49 attempts by the opponent, Metallurg – only 20. In the next three games, the score was on block shots: 20-18, 21-14, 14-9 – each time in favor of “Magnitka”. All the matches of the series were won by the team that more often went under the puck – and the “foxes” did not have a separate hero like Litovchenko from “Siberia”, who would take over most of the throws, almost all of them went under them.

In addition to the added rival, it is worth noting the subdued “Vanguard”. In the championship year in the first round, Hartley’s team played with the jelly-like “Motorist” and frankly fooled half the series, openly saving strength. It almost led to 2-2 after four matches, but the majority teams helped. This year, in the first round, it was necessary to play as an adult, and although the current “Ak Bars” is quite a straightforward opponent, it still had to run over and overcome.

As a result, there was a feeling that in Magnitogorsk “Vanguard” decided to make a breakthrough. That was enough for one and a half super-effective matches, but, as it turned out, something went wrong in the second half of the second game. In Balashikha, Hartley’s team no longer fled to another’s zone from the first minutes, but the energy seemed to evaporate from the energetic pressure.

It is even difficult to say that one of the reasons for this is the known problems with the defensive line. In the last playoff, the same Sharipzyanov has already played 24 minutes per game, and Emelin in the NHL is used to the fact that the first pair of defenders are very overloaded. In addition, the leading defenders of “Metallurg” also play much more often than average.

Finally, Metallurg had several local heroes who helped a lot. The same Nikolai Goldobin remains a rather strange example of a Russian technician who is wildly unstable. So far he is not on the path of Chistov or Filatov, but the intervals of recessions alternate with ingenious puck, which was his third in the third match. This goal is somewhat reminiscent of the legendary puck Kaigorodov, but not scored in the minority.

The rights to the video belong to KHL LLC. The video can be viewed on the official website of the league.

Video trainers also became heroes. Metallurg brought in former KHL line-up Jacob Paley, and at the crucial moment, three Avangard goals were canceled at once, which were quite obvious offsides viewed by Paley’s former colleagues. Here, “Vanguard” was partially responsible for the last playoffs, when the club’s video coaches helped cancel two goals of “Motorist”.

Finally, we must recognize the role of Ilya Vorobyov in the fact that the team came to life. He was not afraid to put Hultström, who failed the first two matches, in reserve for away games, thus giving a signal. He was incredibly energetic on the bench, and yesterday even started the stadium after an ambiguous moment with a potential removal from the “Vanguard”. All this energy is transferred to the team as well.

Photo: Yuri Kuzmin,

Metallurg may not win the series, but at least he managed to break the case, which already seemed completely hopeless. True, the team drove itself into this position, being in the status of a clear favorite, but is already pulling itself by the hair. Now I wonder what Avangard will answer: something new or will try to return to the settings of the first two matches of the series.

About the author


Leave a Comment