Athens take Berlin to Game 7

The Athens Greeks have stretched their playoff series to seven games with a thrilling 5-4 win at home Monday. They and Berlin will play a deciding game on Wednesday and the biggest question that will be answered that day is: That look in the Smurfs’ eyes … is it anger or fear? It has been well documented that there is no beating a band of angry Smurfs. But the Greeks have a way of pushing their weight around a rink and they were able to win three straight without three key forwards at full strength.  With Jason Pominville healthy again and Vadim Shipachyov and T.J. Oshie able to put in third- or fourth-line time, that might be unsettling to the Smurfs. It seemed to unnerve them on Monday, although none of the three marksmen did much against Berlin. Instead, the Greeks got a mammoth performance out of Kyle Palmeiri and Michael Ryder, who played on a line with Shipachyov.  In 12 minutes of ice time, Palmeiri recorded 2 goals and 2 assists, while the veteran Ryder contributed with 2 goals and 1 assist. Together, the Shipachyov line was plus 4. Still, they needed Nicklas Kronwall’s second goal in as many games to put enough distance between them and Berlin. The Smurfs’ leading scorer Logan Couture tallied twice early in the game before he was finally corralled by the Greeks. But his left wing, Loui Eriksson managed to find some open space in front of the Greeks net and bury his 5th goal of the playoffs with 4 minutes left. The Eriksson goal brought the visitors to within one goal, but they couldn’t get anything else past Cam Ward and into the Athens net. Game 7: Athens, although they are playing with a couple of men hurting, have definitely found their scoring touch in the series. In the first three games, all won by Berlin, the Greeks managed a total of just 3 goals. But in the last three, they have poured in 15 goals.  Berlin is healthy and at home, where they have won 4 of 5 times when Athens has visited them this season. The Smurfs have relied on the line of Couture, Eriksson and Ryan Callahan and they will ask a lot of the three veterans again Wednesday.

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