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Avangard can snuff out Dynamo's spark; ICE HOCKEY AVANGARD OMSK V DYNAMO MOSCOW 1pm.

THE KHL Gagarin Cup finals start this afternoon in Omsk and pit the most impressive attack of the play-offs against the stingiest defence, writes Adam Scriven.

Dynamo Moscow have scored at least three goals in six of their last seven matches, thanks in no small part to Mikhail Anisin.

The diminutive Russian was poached from Western Conference whipping boys Vityaz Chekhov in January and has proved a sensation for Dynamo, scoring 13 goals in 14 play-off matches.

They have also shown superb away form, going unbeaten in 60 minutes in all of their three series to date, despite being the lower-seeded team in two of those battles.

But they will have to be at their best to get off to a winning start against Avangard Omsk, who have been the league's form team since Raimo Summanen was reinstated as coach in December.

The Finn guided Avangard to the top of the regular season last year before being dumped prior to the play-offs, and he has picked up where he left off.

Avangard conceded just one goal in their last three games against this year's regular-season winners Traktor Chelyabinsk and although the Traktor defence also kept things tight, they showed earlier in the play-offs they have plenty of scoring power too.

Play-off form - Avangard Omsk: round one bt Amur Khabarovsk 4-0 (4-3, 4-3, 4-2, 3-1); Conference semi bt Metallurg Magnitogorsk 4-1 (0-1OT, 5-2, 3-1, 5-3, 3-2OT); Conference final bt Traktor Chelyabinsk 4-1 (1-3, 3-2OT, 1-0, 3-1, 1-0) Dynamo Moscow: round one bt Dinamo Minsk 4-0 (2-1 OT, 2-0, 4-2, 3-1); Conference semis bt Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 4-2 (1-0, 2-3OT, 3-4OT, 3-2, 4-2, 3-2); Conference final bt SKA St. Petersburg 4-0 (5-4OT, 2-1, 3-1, 6-1).

Game one (60 minutes) - best odds: 13-10 Avangard (bet365, Lads, Hills), 17-10 (Boylesports), 3 draw (Paddy Power).

Recommendation Avangard to win game one 1pt 13-10 bet365, Hills, Ladbrokes
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Apr 13, 2012
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