KHL.ru presents the finals of the conferences. Geographical neighbors, who previously met only once in the playoffs, will fight for the title of the best team in the East.
The principle of confrontation between “Metallurg” and “Tractor” is due not only to the geographical neighborhood, but also to the fact that administratively, Chelyabinsk is higher, and in the general history of domestic hockey has batgreater significance, while behind Magnitogorsk – the latest history, plus the titles won in it. Nevertheless, this principledness is manifested mainly in the regular season, as in the Gagarin Cup, “Metallurg” and “Tractor” intersected only once. Chelyabinsk in general rarely advanced beyond the first round, and not every year they reached the playoffs – unlike the Magnitogorsk, who never finished the season at the same time as the regular season. The only Ural derby in the KHL playoffs happened so long ago that the series of the first round was then played to three victories. It was the second season; steelmakers took two home matches (5: 2 and 3: 1), first lost away in overtime (1: 2), then – again in overtime – won (3: 2), and in the next more than ten years never again did not meet with neighbors at the cup stages. By the way, in all four matches in March 2010, he defended Metallurg’s goal Vasily Koshechkin.
Earlier, Chelyabinsk played with Magnitogorsk in the MHL (in the sense – the International), in 1993, and then the series remained behind the “Tractor” – 2-0.
In the current regular season – which “Metallurg” and “Tractor” passed not to go hand in hand, but quite close to it – they exchanged home victories with a score of 3: 2, only in Magnitogorsk everything ended in regular time, and in Chelyabinsk – in addition. Four of Tractor’s six puck were thrown out of gear Nick Bailenthree out of six – with participation Lukasz Sedlak (2 + 1). He also participated in half of Magnitka’s goals Josh Curry (1 + 2).
In general, Metallurg and Traktor are fairly equal rivals, but right now the Chelyabinsk team has lost one of its strongest strikers – Sedlak, and this is a very big loss. It is still unknown exactly when Lukash will return to action: maybe even before the first match; but even more unknown is in what condition he will return. Not only that, in the last meeting with “Salavat Yulaev” he was also injured Pulkkinen’s topic, who managed to play only one shift in the second period, and now joined Sedlak in the list of injured. Here it can be noted that Pulkkinen is not doing well in the current playoffs, but on the other hand – his class is well known, and according to the law of large numbers, sooner or later the topic must be shot. In theory, now is the time for this “sooner or later” – and, unfortunately, trauma. Besides, no matter how ugly his March statistics were, following one shock link Anwar Gatiyatulin will have to (if Pulkkinen stays in the hospital) reformat one more – nominally the first. In the nominally second, Sedlak was replaced Andrey Stas – an experienced fighter, but in style, it seems, not very suitable for Tomasz Gike and Nikita Tertyshny. That is, the loss of Sedlak and Pulkkinen is not only minus two cool strikers, it is minus two leading links.
And in Ilya Vorobyov with the links all right – three almost equivalent threes, each of which can take over the game. Now the combination looks more effective than the others (meaning a game in equal numbers) Nikolai Goldobin – Denis Zernov – Maxim Karpov, but – not to go far behind the example – in the last match with the “Vanguard” none of them participated in any of the four goals. And in general in the list of the most effective players of “Metallurgist” the first line with Goldobin is shared by two defenders – Grigory Dronov (both have 4 + 6) and Egor Yakovlev (0 + 10). And between them and Karpov (2 + 7) with Zernov (6 + 1) there are three more forwards – Brendan Leipzig, Philippe Maye and Andrey Chibisoveach of which has 5 + 4.
A lot in this series will depend on the presence / absence of Sedlak and Pulkkinen on the ice. Because even when they were in the composition, the Chelyabinsk people could “sit in the trenches” if necessary; and without them – they will get stuck almost guaranteed, good thing, the game on defense they turn out perfectly. In turn, Ilya Vorobyov has been building a new Metallurg since the summer, as if specifically to open such trenches. If this is the case, we will get a series, albeit ineffective, but still very interesting in tactical terms. If Sedlak and Pulkkinen are in line, the attacking potential of the “Tractor” will increase significantly, and everything will be even more interesting – and more spectacular. Of course, not to the extent that “the ball to the left – the ball to the right”, but this should not be the case in cup matches at the level of the conference finals. In any case, a bright confrontation awaits us: in vain, do neighbors meet every twelve years?