Oslo 3, St. Petersburg 2 (shootout)
The Oslo Devils didn’t let their 4 injuries bother them, nor the fact they gave up 54 shots on goal. And 18,500 screaming St. Petersburg fans? Pshaw! They just asked Jimmy Howard to stand on his head, scored a couple of goals in the first two periods, and won it with an Alex Burrows goal in the fifth round of the shootout. St. Petersburg finally cracked Howard’s shell late in the third period, getting goals from Brad Richards and Blake Wheeler to tie it, and ended up with a point in the standings. The Lynx are now locked in a three-way tie for first in the Northern Conference, with two other teams, including the Devils, right on their heels. St. Petersburg has a little more breathing room than the others in that logjam because they have a 4-point cushion atop the Kharlamov Division.
Bern 3, Berlin 2
Bern bounced back into first place overall thanks mainly to Johan Franzen, who pumped in a pair of goals, giving the RW on the second line 12 on the season. Franzen is one of several Bears putting together some impressive numbers. He is second on his teams in shots with 88 in 31 games, he has twice as many takeways (32) as giveaways (16) and he’s skating with a plus/minus rating of plus 8. Like the game in St. Petersburg, a goalie held a shutout until the final minutes of regulation. Mike Smith finally allowed Kris Versteeg to score a powerplay goal with 2:30 left, and then Versteeg did it again on the powerplay with only a half-minute to play. It’s too bad for Berlin their powerlpay couldn’t connect on any of the 7 chances it had before those two goals. 20,000 Berlin fans showed up for the Schloder Division battle.
London 4, Belfast 0
Taylor Hall and Jeff Skinner each had 2 points and Marc Andre Fleury notched his third shutout for the Knights. London was just too talented for the Giants, outshooting them 36-17 and allowing sniper Rick Nash to get just one shot on Fleury, who is now seventh in the league in goals against average and 11th in the EURO in save percentage.
Minsk 4, Helsinki 1
Too many penalties erased the early momentum Helsinki had. Paul Stastny put the Jokerit in front 1-0 but Niclas Bakstrom tied it later int he first period and Patrik Berglund’s two powerplay goals in the second period had the home team sitting pretty. Minsk added an empty-netter in a battle of second-string goalies Jonas Gustavsson of Minsk and Steve Mason of Helsinki. Gustavsson, by the way, has done way more than most teams ask of their backups. In four starts, he has a .943 save percentage and a 1.83 goals against average, both numbers that would put him ahead of league leader Roberto Luongo of Copenhagen if he had enough games to qualify for the list.
Stockholm 3, Gothenburg 2
A battle of Swedish clubs was decided in the final minute when Loui Eriksson scored his second of the game and 11th of the season to beat Martin Brodeur. Brodeur played brilliantly for Gothenburg, making 40 saves. Eriksson, who opened the scoring with a first period powerplay tally, had 11 shots on goals, more than twice as many as anyone else did in the game. The season series between the Swedes is now tied at 1-1.
Zurich 5, Madrid 2
The Lions avenged a loss three days earlier in a short hame-and-home series that saw both teams win on home ice. Drew Stafford and Patrice Bergeron scored two goals each, Stafford on 7 shots and Bergeron on 5 shots. One of Stafford’s goals came with the man advantage, while both of Bergeron’s did. For Madrid, Sean Couturier scored a shorthanded goal to open the scoring and Joe Pavelski recorded his 22nd of the season in the second period. Zurich outshot Madrid 39-23. Madrid is in 7th place in the Southern Conference, Zurich is in 9th, 10 points behind the Royals.