Recap of Thursday games
Zurich 7, Prague 6 – The Zurich Lions bounced back from a disappointing loss on Wednesday to win a wild game in Prague. The game had to be decided in a shootout that was capped by Ilya Kovalchuk, who ripped a wrist shot through Niko Hovinen and into the Prague net. Six goals were scored in the third period, four of them by Zurich. Fourth-liners Martin Thornberg and Ryan Strome each had 5 shots on goal for Zurich in 7 minutes of ice time. For the Siamese Cats, Bryan Little scored twice and all-star defenseman Justin Schultz added 3 points to his season total.
Moscow 3, Helsinki 0 – For the second time in two nights, Moscow Spartak dominated on the road. On Thursday, they outshot the Jokerit 39-19 and got goals from Andrew Ladd, Duncan Keith and David Jones. Backup goalie Alexander Salak got the shutout, his third of the season. Salak, 23, has a 1.65 goals against average and 93.3 save percentage in 11 games played this season.
Gothenburg 6, Madrid 0 – The Devils’ Pekka Rinne stopped 31 Madrid shots to earn his third shutout of the season and the road win moved Gothenburg ahead of Belfast and into first place in the Northern Conference. The other goalie in the game, Robin Lehner, may have suffered some damaged confidence after being ripped apart by the Northern Conference in the third period of the all-star game. Lehner allowed 6 Gothenburg goals on 28 shots Thursday. Defenseman Alec Martinez scored twice and the top point-getters for the Devils were checkers Chris Kelly (1 goal, 3 assists) and Cal Clutterbuck (1 goal, 2 assists).
Berlin 3, Munich 0 – The Smurfs scored a goal in every period and got shutout goaltending out of Jimmy Howard en route to a 3-0 win over one of their German rivals. Ryan Callahan started the scoring with his 15th of the season and Jiri Tlusty added his 6th a period later. Loui Eriksson added an empty-net goal for his 18th of the season, but that wasn’t the highlight of his week. The Swede refuses to talk about his departure from the all-star game with Silvia Prochadzkova, Miss Slovakia, and whether the two are currently in a relationship.
Dublin 3, London 2 – Veteran goalie Tim Thomas stopped 17 shots in a furious third period to preserve Dublin’s one-goal lead to the end. Penalties hurt the Dons the most in the third period, as they played shorthanded for most of the last 10 minutes thanks to four minor penalties. Evander Kane of Dublin had 2 assists to lead all players in scoring.
Paris 3, Minsk 1 – Paris skated into Minsk and left with a win in a game that featured excellent goaltending at both ends of the rink. Tuukka Rask made 37 saves for the winners and Carey Price made 34 stops for Minsk. David Perron, Evgeny Malkin and Sergei Zinovjev scored for Paris. Malkin now has 22 goals, which places him first on the team and tied for 9th in the league. Kovalchuk leads the league with 32 goals in 42 games and he has a healthy 6-goal lead over second-place Zach Parise of Gothenburg. Niklas Backstrom scored for Minsk.
Tonight’s biggest game is Athens at Belfast. Both teams have slightly new looks. Brooks Orpik will play his second game of the season for the Greeks as he enters the lineup due to Dustin Byfyglien’s fairly serious back injury. And Tomas Vincour is back on the fourth line, moving Erik Condra up to the third line in place of injured Kyle Palmeiri. Belfast is missing Sidney Crosby as center of the top line and Joe Pavelski, who centers the second line. Mikael Granlund, who played 64 games last season, will play his second game of the season on the fourth line, pushing up Matthieu Perreault, who is playing his 16th of the season, into the pivot spot on the third line. Cody Hodgson and Matt Duchene move up to the second and first lines, respectively. And Keith Aulie will see time on the blueline in place of injured Matt Hunwick.