Belfast 3, Helsinki 1
Whoa. What has gotten into Belfast? After starting the season 2-13, the Giants have reeled off 5 straights wins, their latest victim being goalie Steve Mason and the Helsinki Jokerit. The easy answer for the Giants’ turnaround would be Rick Nash and a healthy Sidney Crosby. But the two superstars haven’t really stood out in this current streak. Nash had a goal and an assist Wednesday, but in the four games leading up to that, he had only one assist and 10 shots. With an assist on Mattias Tedenby’s goal that made it 2-0, Crosby has an earthling-like two goals and two assists in the five-game win streak, and only 6 shots on goal in that time. Tedenby now has as many goals as Nash does, and both of them, along with defenseman Victor Hedman, trail team leader Gabriel Bourque’s goal total of 7. A powerplay goal in the third period by Helsinki’s Nick Spaling prevented a shutout by Cory Schneider of Belfast.
Frankfurt 6, Gothenberg 2
Alex Steen led the way for the Inferno as he and linemates Steven Stamkos and Claude Giroux together produced 3 goals in front of a home crowd of 13,128. Steen scored twice on 7 shots and assisted on Stamkos’ 11th of the season. Adam Burish, Max Pacioretty and Ryan Wilson also scored for the Inferno. Gothenberg, which outshot Frankfurt, got goals from Vincent Lecavalier and Dan Girardi, with Jordan Eberle assisting on both goals. Eberle has been the team’s best forward in several recent games. Veteran Daymond Langkow, who along with Ryan Jones and Cal Clutterbuck were minus 3 on Wednesday, was injured in the third period.
London 6, Oslo 4
After a whirlwind first period that ended 4-4, London did a better job in the two clutch-and-grab periods that followed and got the last 2 goals of the game, courtesy of Taylor Hall and Jeff Skinner, the 6th of the season for both boys. The first period featured 27 shots on goal, while the final two had a total of 30. Oslo’s Matt D’Agostini scored 2 goals in 12 minutes of ice time and was named the first star, while teammate Ryan Suter fired 6 shots on goal, scored once and issued 5 hits. Michael Grabner of London had more points in the game than anyone, scoring a goal and notching a pair of assists. It was the first meeting of the year between the two teams and the fourth straight win for London.
Stockholm 7, Dublin 2
The Spartans rolled on to another victory, proving that if you don’t like how you’re doing, quit and let someone else try. Stockholm is 3-0 after the ownership change. Ryan Clowe scored twice and five other players contributed a goal apiece. All six of those players now have either 4 or 5 goals on the season. The other five are Shane Doan, Ryan Smyth, Tuomo Ruutu, Loui Eriksson and Jordan Leopold, a defenseman. When Tomas Plekanec and Ryan Kesler scored a pair of second-period goals for Dublin, the score was tied 2-2, but Tim Thomas wilted and let 5 more pucks get past him and into the Fighting Irish net. A standout stat in the game was the fact Kesler, a forward, blocked 7 shots.
Munich 3, Zurich 1
Visiting Munich left Switzerland with a win as Dan Boyle earned 2 assists and Jonathan Quick stopped all but one of the Lions’ 27 shots. Milan Hejduk and Jim Slater scored in the first period and both sides battled through a scoreless second period, and when Boyle faked a shot and fed Patrik Elias at the side of the net for Munich’s third goal, it appeared the game was all but over. Patrice Bergeron managed to fire home his 9th of the season for Zurich, but that’s as close as it got for the Lions.
Geneva 5, Prague 1
Winning its 7th in the last 10 games, the Geneva Generals jumped over Prague in the Southern Conference standings on Wednesday, thanks mainly to a 4-point performance by defenseman Dennis Wideman. With a goal and 3 assists, Wideman is now 3rd on the Generals in scoring with 20 points in 20 games. Among EURO defensemen, he is now tied with Zdeno Chara for second behind Brent Seabrook of Bern. Another star for the Generals was goalie Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 29 of Prague’s 30 shots. Only a Zach Parise shot in the second period got past him, but Geneva had already put 4 on the board by that point. Niclas Lidstrom, the veteran who is paired with Wideman on the Generals’ blue line, had an excellent all-around game, getting an assist, blocking 3 shots, getting credit for 3 hits and being a plus 3.