Geneva momentum stopped by visiting Moscow

Moscow 6, Geneva 1 – The world champs almost had their mojo back. About a week and a half ago, the Generals were mired in a three-game losing streak and they lost 5 of 7 games in that stretch. But a 5-1 win in Bratislava kicked off a four-game win streak that had Geneva right near the top of the standings again. On Tuesday, however, they ran into a buzzsaw when the Moscow Spartak came to town. A day after being shut out by Marty Brodeur and the Gothenburg Devils, Moscow proved they could indeed put the puck in the opposition’s net, firing 6 past, through and around beleaguered General backup Sergei Bobrovsky. Each period featured two different Moscow players scoring goals, including Belarussian rookie Alexei Kalyuzhny’s first goal in the EURO league. Rich Peverley picked up his 10th of the season against Bobrovsky. Moscow goalie Jaroslav Halak faced four more shots than “Bob” did, but the only shot that beat him was a Marian Gaborik powerplay deke and wrist shot that made it 4-1 about nine minutes into the third period. But don’t cry for Geneva. The Generals are at the top of the Southern Conference, albeit by just a point over two teams and by 2 points over two other teams. Geneva has been led offensively by Patrick Marleau, Chris Kunitz and Gaborik, the forwards who make up their top line. But coach Joel Quenneville is probably none too pleased to see they are minus 11 through 18 games as a line. Like last season, opponents see Generals forwards advancing in waves when they play Geneva. Mike Fisher, who played like a Marvel super hero in the playoffs, centers the second line with Nick Foligno and Justin Williams on his wings, while the third line features David Desharnais between Ryan Malone and rookie Rickard Wallin, who currently leads the team in plus-minus with a plus 10. All of the aforementioned centers have scored at least 14 points this season. The return of Nicklas Lidstrom has kept the defense strong, but the 42-year-old has seen some second-pairing action to give his old bones more a rest this season. He is still the Generals’ highest scoring defenseman but is a minus 6 this year. Micahel Del Zotto, who is 20 years younger, has taken his place on the top pair with Dennis Wideman. On most days that combo works, but on Tuesday, it wasn’t a good idea. They were minus 3 against Moscow. Number one goalie Kari Lehtonen’s numbers are very similar to last season’s and Geneva hopes he will do what he did last year and turn it up a notch come playoff time. One of the strangest stats in Geneva concerns Marleau, the 33-year-old who scored 43 goals and 105 points last year. It’s not a surprise that he leads his team in shots taken with 74 in 18 games, but it is a shocker that he also leads in shots blocked with 20.  Only three EURO forwards have more blocked shots than he does this season.

St. Petersburg 7, Belfast 3 – The Giants came to St. Petersburg and the Red Stars swatted them around  like they were … well, not giants. Jarome Iginla scored two and five other Red Stars also beat Belfast goalie Ondrej Pavelec. David Legwand, Olli Jokinen and Brad Richards, who led all in shots with 7 and is on a 13-game scoring streak, each had 2-point nights for Petrograd. Defensemen Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Willie Mitchell were outstanding and finished plus 4. For Belfast, rookie Tony Martensson had two points, as did Matt Duchene and Jaromir Jagr. St. Petersburg built a 5-1 lead when Iginla scored his first of the game with 8:12 remaining in the second period.

Dublin 5, Helsinki 2 – The Irish peppered Johann Hedberg with 41 shots, including 19 in the third period to leave Finland with a win. After Dublin scored the only 2 goals of the first period, they pulled away when Milan Michalek scored two in the second period. They also did a good job of playing with their heads, taking just one penalty to the Jokerit’s five. Bobby Ryan collected 3 assists in the game for the Irish, while four of his teammates had 2 points. Jack Johnson, over on the home team’s bench, was very physical, dishing out 7 hits and managing to emerge plus 1. Dublin has won 9 of its last 10 and are a single point behind conference and EURO-leading Copenhagen.

Bern 6, Athens 3 – The Bern Bears may have a lot of B’s in their name but they turned to the end of the alphabet for goals on Tuesday. Mika Zibanejad, Henrik Zetterberg and Radim Vrbata accounted for 5 of the Bears’ goals against Athens and goalie Mika Kiprusoff. Andy McDonald opened the scoring in the first period for Bern with his second of the season. Vrbata was the offensive star for Bern, getting 2 goals and 2 assists. Zibanejad scored his first two EURO League goals against the Greeks. Athens’ David Backes and Jason Pominville both had 2 points.

Gothenburg 5, Minsk 4 (OT-SO)  – The game was tied 4-4 after regulation time with eight different goal scorers and had to be decided in a shootout, where Milan Lucic was the lone scorer.  Lucic led all scorers in the game with 3 assists. Martin Brodeur was the winning goalie, making 27 saves and 3 in the shootout, while Carey Price took the loss in the Hussar net after making 32 saves. Max Chudinov of Minsk played a strong defensive game, blocking 4 Gothenburg shots.

Stockholm 1, Frankfurt 0 – The Inferno did everything right except got one past Cam Ward in the Stockholm net. Ward stole a win in Germany as his team was outshot 41-25 by Frankfurt. The game’s only goal came late in the first period when Loui Eriksson fed a pass to Eric Staal who scored while Frankfurt was trying to kill a penalty. Three Inferno forwards had as many shots as the whole Stockholm team did Tuesday. Steven Stamkos had 10, Max Pacioretty had 8 and Claude Giroux 7. That doesn’t include the 9 shots that Spartan defensemen Jordan Leopold and Travis Hamonic blocked. In fact, the blocked shots totals were eye-opening. Stockholm blocked a total of 16 Frankfurt shots, while the Inferno blocked just one Spartan shot. Add the shots on goal and the blocked shots together and Frankfurt out-fired the Spartans 57-26.

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