Kopitar, Ovechkin pick up their game in Moscow win

Moscow 6, Belfast 3 – Moscow Spartak turned their arena into a shooting gallery on Friday and poor Cory Schneider of Belfast had to stand in there the whole time. Rich Peverley fired 12 at the Giants net all by himself and he might have had more if he didn’t have to sit out 2 minutes of the game with a penalty. Moscow outshot Belfast 54-23, with the 11 Belfast penalties giving Moscow plenty of time in the Giants’ zone. The first period ended with Moscow getting 20 shots on goal en route to a 3-1 lead. The best news for Spartak fans was that their superstars, Alexander Ovechkin and Anze Kopitar, played like superstars. Fans all over Europe have been expecting big games from the big pair since the day Ovechkin returned to his hometown in a trade before Season 1 started. Ovi and a first-round pick in the 2014 draft were acquired from Dublin in exchange for Phil Kessel and Bobby Ryan. Moscow has some good players, like defensemen Duncan Keith and Filip Kuba, who was the team’s lone representative in the all-star game last season. But  Ovechkin and Kopitar are the engine of the team and they sputtered for the first 30 games or so and Spartak could never get enough speed going to make the playoffs, finishing 18th overall. Kopitar finished with 77 points and Ovechkin with 71. This season, Kopitar is rolling with more than a point per game, but Ovechkin is only fourth on the team in scoring with 13 points in 17 games. He had a 3-point night on Friday against Belfast, to go with 6 shots and 2 blocked shots. His linemates, Kopitar and Aleksey Morozov, each scored 4 points and they combined for 14 shots. Jason Garrison, a Moscow blueliner, is having a season that might get him some all-star votes next month. He is fourth in the league in hits with 73 and he has 10 points, 22 blocked shots and is a team-leading plus 10 through 20 games.

Munich 2, Frankfurt 1 – A Matt Cooke goal in the last minute of regulation gave Munich a win at home and prevented Frankfurt from getting a point in the standings even though they outshot the Fox 35-24. Jon Quick turned in another good game and was named the game’s first star. He is the league leader in both goals against average (1.98) and save percentage (.934). Steven Stamkos put the Inferno in front with his 11th goal of the season, but Patrik Elias tied it a period later with his 12th of the season. Mike Lundin of Frankfurt blocked 5 shots, while his teammate Josh Gorges had 5 hits and 2 blocked shots. To make matters worse for Frankfurt, Max Pacioretty, the team’s top left wing, hurt his back and will be on the injury list.

Athens 3, Geneva 2 – Jason Pominville scored two powerplay goals in the third period to help the Greeks leave Geneva with a one-goal win over the defending champs. Chris Kunitz scored twice for Geneva and the Generals outshot Athens, but goalie Mika Kiprusoff was good enough to win the game for the Greeks. Athens played more than half the game without Niclas Kronwall, who will have to sit a few games with a back problem.

Bratislava 2, Stockholm 1 – Tyler Ennis fed Jonathan Toews for a first period goal and then a little later, Toews fed Ennis to give Bratislava a 2-0 lead in Sweden. By the end of the second period, the Eagles were soaring along, in control of the game and up in shots 30-11. But Daniel Cleary scored with a little less than 10 minutes to go in regulation and it was a tense game from that point. But the Spartans couldn’t get another one past Craig Anderson to tie the score. Cam Ward, in the Stockholm net, made 41 saves. Bratislava lost defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to an injury.

Berlin 3, Edinburgh 0 – Scotland Yard was called in to try to figure out how Berlin stole this game from the hometown Capitals. They might be pressing charges against goalie Semyon Varlamov. Edinburgh outshot Berlin 40-17 and Varlamov stopped all 40 Caps shots to earn his second career shutout. Varlamov, acquired from London for two prospects and a second-round draft pick will see a lot of action as a Smurf now that Mika Kiprusoff has been packed off to Athens for Nathan Horton and second rounder. In 7 games this season, Varlamov has a .921 save percentage.

St. Petersburg 6, London 1– Now that they’ve won 3 of their last 4, let’s see if St. Petersburg does what it did last year: started slowly and then shot up through the standings like a Soyuz rocket. On Friday, it was close until a few minutes into the second period, when the Red Stars pulled away. Blake Wheeler scored two goals and Olli Jokinen collected three assists. Dmitri Kalinin and Brad Richards also had multi-point games for St. Petersburg.


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