The Berlin Smurfs were at home Saturday, a win away from advancing to the conference finals, but the Athens Greeks had no intention of rolling over and playing dead. Instead, they growled and attacked. A little more than 12 minutes into the game, Dominic Moore bit Berlin with a goal. Then he assisted Tomas Vincour on another goal 10 seconds later, and a when the Greek powerplay got onto the ice a few seconds after that, they made it 3-0 on a Nicklas Kronwall slapshot. For all three goal scorers, it was their first goal of the playoffs. Berlin actually outshot Athens in the game, and they were constructing a comeback in the second period when Athens put them away with two shorthanded goals on the same powerplay. Big Dustin Byfuglien scored his third of the playoffs and David Backes tacked on his 6th in a span of 32 seconds. Byfuglien assisted on Backes’ goal. Game 6: The two teams now have to go back south to Greece … and Athens right wing Jason Pominville will play. He has recovered nicely from a foot injury sustained four days ago. Teammates Vadim Shipachyov and T.J. Oshie, who have been missing with hip and groin issues, respectively, will be game time decisions for coach John Tortorella. Their return will surely be seen as a very positive sign for the Greeks who are suddenly playing much better. For Berlin, they have started bleeding and need to apply pressure to their wound. They will look to star Logan Couture and their veterans with leadership to give them a good swift kick in the get up and go. But captain Ryan Callahan and assistant Daniel Briere don’t seem to be on the same page this post season. Callahan has been a monster, scoring 5 goals and 12 points in the 9 playoff games. Briere, on the other hand, has been a mouse, mustering up just a lonely assist. True, he has played on the fourth line playing an average of 6 minutes per game, but that’s 54 minutes of hockey with just an assist to show for it. Fans in Germany have expected much more from a player who has always had a reputation as a playoff stud.
Paris players blew shots past Bratislava goalie Craig Anderson at what has to be a record rate on Friday. Bratislava took a seemingly healthy 3-0 lead in the first period, and they went up 4-1 very early in the second period when Martin Hanzal scored on a pretty feed from Patrick Kaleta, but to their misfortune, the game was scheduled to go longer than 21 minutes. The Eagles started to get into penalty trouble and the Rouge Eiffel powerplay started to get to work. When Jason Krog and Joffrey Lupul scored man-advantage goals before the second period was 7 minutes old, the flood gates opened and Anderson reverted to playing like he did in his mite years. In all, 9 pucks got through the goalie and Paris breezed into their second consecutive Southern Conference finals series. Lupul and Evgeny Malkin scored two goals apiece, with Alex Pietrangelo, David Perron, Josef Vacicek, Ossi Vaananen and Krog all adding one to the pile. Paris heads to the next series in good health. They will face the winner of the Berlin-Athens series.