There couldn’t have been a more exciting finish to a season. Game 6 of the EURO Cup finals was seconds away from going into overtime when Joffrey Lupul wired a shot through Pekka Rinne to win the second-ever EURO Cup for Paris. There were 4 seconds left on the clock at the time. Les Rouges Eiffels players poured off the bench to join Lupul, linemates Evgeny Malkin and Corey Perry and defensemen Kris Letang and Alex Pietrangelo in a celebration that is probably still going on under the Arc De Triomphe and along Paris’ Champs-Elysees. Paris wins the series 4 games to 2 over a good St. Petersburg team that finished second in the Northern Conference regular season standings behind Copenhagen.
The Russians led the game 3-0 after the first period, but Paris’ David Perron scored a pair of second period goals to put the game within reach. St. Petersburg’s David Legwand scored his first goal of the playoffs in the third period and it looked for a while there that we might have a Game 7 in the finals series. But with under 8 minutes remaining, Russians Alexander Semin and Malkin scored goals within a 2-minute span to knot it.
St. Petersburg had one more golden opportunity late in the game when Paris sniper Perry took the team’s seventh penalty of the game. Eiffels penalty killers like Ossi Vaananen, Travis Hamonic, Drew Miller and Sergei Zinovjev – and goalie Tuuka Rask – were able to keep the Red Stars off the scoreboard. Late in regulation, Malkin got the puck back to the point to a wide open Letang. He wound up for a shot, pump faked to move St. Petersburg’s Viktor Stalberg out of the way and zipped a pass to Lupul near the faceoff dot. Rinne moved to his right to cover the angle but Lupul’s hard wrist shot found a gap between the goalie’s body and right arm and 19,294 fans erupted in joy.
St. Petersburg outshot Paris 36-30 in the game and two of the top Red Star forwards – Brad Richards and Wheeler – were named first and second stars of the game.
Paris joins Geneva in the exclusive club of EURO League champions. It is clear now that the Eiffels were just terribly unlucky last season, when they finished 19th overall.