Gothenburg 6, Munich 3 – The Gothenburg Devils are young, skillful, full of hockey sense … perhaps a bit on the smallish side … and they are currently at the top of the Kharlamov Division. A season ago, the Devils finished 14th in the league and lost a first-round playoff series in 7 games to Northern Conference champion Copenhagen. This season, under the guidance of new general manager Chris Legge, Gburg is in 8th overall with a 14-10-2 record. Up front, Devils lines are crammed with players in their 20s except for two 32-year-olds and that venerable relic from Finnish antiquity, Teemu Selanne, who is still cooking along with 18 points in 24 games. In goal, it is just the opposite situation. While big Anders Lindback, 26, is there in a backup role, most of the Devils’ eggs are in a 40-year-old basket named Martin Brodeur, who was a New Jersey Devil before he became a Gothenburg Devil. Brodeur’s numbers are down from last year, with a 3.33 goals against average and an 88.8 save percentage, placing in the 15th- 20th range among leaders in those two categories. The defense is a mixture of youth and experience. Dan Girardi, 28, is the big name on the blueline and he is currently playing along side Stephane Robidas, 35. A couple of future big names are right behind them in Erik Johnson and John Carlson. Girardi is playing a solid season, with 8 goals and 20 points and he leads his team in hits, blocked shots and is tied for the lead in plus-minus rating at plus 13. The player he is tied with is a solid 32-year-old defensive forward who had the best offensive performance in the league on Tuesday. Chris Kelly had 4 assists in 12 minutes against Munich and was a plus 4. While seeing fourth-line duty for the most part, as well as being a top penalty killer for Gothenburg, Kelly is tied for fifth on the team in assists (11) although he only has scored two goals in his 26 games and he is tied for fourth on the team in penalty minutes. On Tuesday, linemate Ryan Jones converted 2 of Kelly’s passes into goals to help Gothenburg beat Munich 6-3. The Devils earned the win, outshooting the Fox 37-31 in a hard-hitting contest that saw 17 penalties called. Vinny LeCavalier has missed 9 games already this season and team officials admitted he was not at full strength Tuesday, playing with a nagging injury of an undisclosed nature.
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Athens 2, Prague 1 – Athens outshot Prague Sparta 37-16, but it took a shorthanded goal by defenseman Johnny Boychuk – his first of the year – to secure the win for the home team. Prague had 10 powerplay chances and Athens had 6 and neither team could score. Prague goalie Ryan Miller stopped 35 shots.
Olso 4, Zurich 3 – Zurich scored three goals in five minutes during the third period to send the game into overtime, but it was the Outlaws who did better there, scoring 4 goals in 6 rounds. Marc Staal, Drew Stafford and Ilya Kovalchuk scored for the Lions, and for Stafford it was his 16th of the season, putting him into second in the league in goals behind Dublin’s Ryan Kesler. All three of Oslo’s goals were powerplay tallies. Daniel Briere, Curtis Glencross and Max Talbot scored for the Outlaws.
Minsk 3, Geneva 1 – The Generals looked a little lost without injured Niclas Lidstrom, mustering just one goal against Carey Price and the Hussars. The game was scoreless after two periods and then Minsk scored on their only two powerplays, with defenseman Ryan McDonough and forward Sergei Kostitsyn putting pucks past Geneva goalie Kari Lehtonen. Nick Foligno made it a one-goal game with 1:21 to play, but with Lehtonen pulled for the extra attacked, Minsk clinched the game with an empty-net goal by Patric Hornquist. Minsk did a fantastic job of blocking shots that were on their way to Price. Forward Patrik Berglund, who had 3 assists and won 15 of 25 faceoffs, led everyone in blocked shots with 5, but 11 other Hussars blocked a total of 22 more shots.
Moscow 5, St. Petersburg 2 – Moscow Spartak and goalie Jaroslav Halak beat their Russian neighbors for the third time in three weeks and took a 3-1 lead in their season series. Jason Garrison, Benoit Pouliot and Anze Kopitar each had 2 points for Moscow. Halak made 29 saves. St. Petersburg was led by rookie Jonathan Huberdeau, who had two assists, as well as Erik Cole and Blake Wheeler who each had 5 shots and 1 point.
Copenhagen 5, Edinburgh 2 – The game was tied 2-2 after the first period, it stayed that way through the second and until the Andrew Ladd-Stephen Weiss-Dany Heatley line said “that is just about enough!” and scored three goals to put the game away for the Tridents. Ladd scored his 6th and 7th of the season and Weiss his 12th to go along with assists on both Ladd goals. Heatley and defenseman Kevin Dallman each had two assists in the third-period outburst. Edinburgh actually outshot Copenhagen 35-25 but Roberto Luongo was on his game for Copenhagen.