It is clear that experts hang laurels in advance for the citizens of Kazan. Ak Bars narrowly surpassed two of their opponents as clear favourites. What’s more, there was no complete separation of points in the series, after which Ak Bars could afford to slow down the horses. The series with Neftekhimik was actually a 2-2 draw with no right to make a mistake. In the series with Admiral, yes, it was 3:1, but only 1 whole match for Kazan turned out to be more or less simple. All the rest of the admiral bit the Kazans. Therefore, the saying that the favorites of Kazan in combination with the Vanguard language will not turn around. Even Ak Bars does not feel the total lightness on their site. Only 2 handicap wins in the entire playoffs. In the series with Admiral, not only have they never defeated Admiral from -1, but they also managed to lose to them in 1 match.
But Vanguard, unlike Ak Bars, is stable. Like Kazan, they started the regular season poorly, but in the qualifying series they are almost flawless. Why practically… Because only 1 match was played in 2 rounds, and then in extra time. This means that Avangard have never lost in regular time. Although the opponents were much more difficult. Siberia got only one match in the 1/8, although everyone knows very well how difficult it is in Novosibirsk. There, however, 2 out of 2 wins, and one of the matches ended with a big victory. And I think the removal of Metallurg is sensational. It was hard to expect that Avangard would not give a single game to the current finalist. Moreover, one of the matches in Magnitogorsk ended with a victory for Omsk by 3 goals. This suggests that, firstly, Avangard are now a real powerhouse, and secondly, the team is not afraid to come visit and is ready to play on a foreign ice, as at home.
So I assume that in the opening match Avangard will play against Ak Bars. Vanguard are now good enough not to lose in regular time 14 matches in a row. And the fact that it is not bad on the road, as indicated above, is also evidenced by 1 defeat in regular time in 9 matches. And not a single loss with a handicap in 10 hostilities. And of course, don’t forget the freshness that will be an integral part of Vanguard. On the 23rd, the players from Omsk finished the series, so they should be fresher in their debut and generally have more time to prepare. You can also put a plus in the piggy bank in the form of the fact that Ak Bars did not convince in the attack, if we take the Admiral series. 1 match does not guarantee that the attack has set the goal. If we take this match out of brackets, on average Ak Bars scored a goal against Admiral. And 1 match ended with the steering wheel in front. Even in the first match, yes, Kazan scored 3 goals, but all of them were scored mostly. It’s a matter of discipline. And Avangard, on the contrary, rarely scored 1-2 goals per game. Average 4 goals in total. So, 2 matches with Metallurg turned out when they managed to score 4 goals, and one of them was away. And the series with Siberia was completely filled with goals from Omsk (in three matches 4 goals, in one – 3). There, only one match ended with a goalless attack by the “hawks”. Therefore, as they say, Vanguard has, if not everything, then a lot to break the resistance of the “greens”.