Ken Kuusk may not crowd Joan D’Arc, Charlemagne or Charles De Gaulle out on the list of biggest heroes in France’s history, but they sure like him a lot right now.
Six-and-a-half minutes into overtime, Kuusk took a slapshot that went in past Jaro Halak to give Paris a 4-3 win in Game 6 of the EURO Cup Finals on Thursday. Paris and Moscow, which are both perfectly healthy at the moment, will faceoff in a final duel on Saturday.
On the winning goal, Paris’ fourth shot in overtime, Joffrey Lupul sent the puck back to Kuusk at the point and then went to front of the net. Corey Perry of Paris was also there at the time, along with two Moscow defensemen. Kuusk’s shot had little chance of getting through the maze of players, but somehow it did. Halak never actually saw the shot that sailed past his left arm. For the 19-year-old Estonian defenseman, it was his second goal of the playoffs. During the regular season, Kuusk scored 9 times after a two-goal season as a rookie.
The game was very evenly played with a more sluggish tempo than fans have been used to seeing in this series . Paris had 6 powerplay chances to Moscow’s 5 and the shots ended up 26-23 in favor of Moscow. All four of Paris’ goals came from the top line of Perry, Lupul and Evgeny Malkin. Perry scored twice and Malkin had one, and Lupul, who had been demoted in the series before being reinserted in the top line by coach Michel Therrien, finished with 2 assists and 5 shots on goal. Moscow was led by Chris Higgins, who scored twice and defenseman Kevin Dallman, who had 2 assists.
Five of the six goals scored in regulation came in the first period, with Moscow emerging with a 3-2 lead, but Perry’s second of the game and 11th of the playoffs tied it early in the third and forced overtime.