By tonight, both conference finals series will stand at 3-2, with one team in each conference on the brink of elimination.
Copenhagen was already on the edge of the cliff, but staved off elimination Sunday in convincing fashion, beating Moscow 5-1 in Copenhagen. Two days earlier, in Russia, Spartak breezed to a 4-1 win with 7 players scoring a point and one – Jannik Hansen – recording two goals. Their attack was spread evenly, with 12 players getting off between 2 and 4 shots on Copenhagen’s Roberto Luongo, resulting in a 34-20 shot advantage. But on Sunday, Luongo was virtually unbeatable and the Tridents skated much better in front of him, outshooting Moscow 37-33. Shea Weber was the offensive star of the game, as the big blueliner scored the game’s first goal and assisted on two others. Matt Moulson, Tomas Fleischmann and Stephen Weiss all came up with a goal and an assist for the Tridents. Fleischmann, Weiss and Alexander Ovechkin were plus 3 as a unit. Counting the playoffs, the two teams have squared off a total of 9 times now, Moscow winning 5, and in most of their games the winning team has put 4 or 5 goals on the board. For Game 6, each team is a man short. Boyd Gordon is out for Copenhagen and Andrei Markov is injured for Moscow. Spartak’s 4-1 win in Game 4 was the only game in which the home team won in this series.
The defending champion Paris Rouges Eiffels were trampled 7-1 by the Greeks on Saturday to even the series at 2 games apiece. Every Athens player had at least one shot on goal, as they outshot Paris 40-17. Dimitrios Kalyvas scored on two of his three shots and was named the game’s first star. Defense partners Lubomir Visnovsky and Tim Gleason were plus 3 and first line center David Backes was an unstoppable force, scoring 3 points, dishing out 5 hits and winning 16 of 24 faceoffs. Paris is trying to deal with two injuries – Ken Kuusk and Joffrey Lupul are out. Josef Vacicek, who has been elevated to the top line with Evgeny Malkin and Corey Perry, is arguably the most important member of the Paris squad right now as he will be counted on to make up some of the production the Eiffels stand to lose with Lupul in the press box. Tonight’s Game 5 will be pivotal in what has shaped up to be a very tight matchup and the goals that Lee Stempniak and Kalyvas scored in Games 2 and 3 look very important now. Stempniak’s was an overtime game-winner for Paris, while Kalyvas’ score late in the third period put his team up 2 and wound up to be the game-winning goal. Kalyvas is second on the Greeks – behind Backes -in playoff scoring with 16 in as many playoff games.