As expected, the EURO Cup finals series is tighter than Rose’s waistband.
After dropping a pair of games to the defending champions in Paris, Moscow Spartak responded with two wins on home ice. The series is now a best two out of three and the winner will get the third-ever EURO Cup.
In Game 3, a tight, scoreless game was broken open in the second period as Moscow captain Dustin Brown and linemate Anze Kopitar both found the net behind Tuukka Rask within a span of 3:27. Paris didn’t take too long to get right back in the game as Corey Perry rifled a wrist shot over Jaroslav Halak’s right shoulder to make it 2-1 late in the period. But Moscow limited Paris to 9 shots in the third period and Halak stopped them all to preserve the win.
In Game 4, Moscow surged ahead in the third period on goals by Derek Roy and then Kopitar, but Halak and Moscow’s penalty killers were the stars in the final minutes of regulation. Roy took a major penalty with 2:45 left and teammate Duncan Keith was called for interference a little more than a minute later. That meant Spartak had to play two men short for the last 1:37. Filip Kuba, Kevin Dallman and Jason Garrison were the defensemen and Brandon Sutter was the forward put to the test in front of Halak and they were active and smart. Garrison and Sutter ended the game with 2 blocked shots each. The offensive attacks of both teams were balanced. Kopitar scored two points to lead everyone, but 9 other Moscow players and 9 Paris players scored one point in the game.
Disciplined defensive play might have been Moscow’s best asset in Games 3 and 4. While they out-hit Paris 28-15 in Game 3 and 24-18 in Game 4, they didn’t seem to get caught out of position much and they limited their penalties. No one Moscow player had more than 3 hits in either of the two games and Spartak enjoyed 5 more man advantage situations than Paris did in the two games.
Aside from a nagging hand injury that has bothered Alex Pietrangelo of the Eiffels – he has not missed a game – both teams are rested and healthy going into the final three – or two – games.