Moscow 5, Stockholm 3 – Moscow wins series 4-0
Aleksey Morozov, who hadn’t scored yet in the series, finished off the Stockholm Eagles by scoring a pair of goals in the third period. A few minutes earlier, Craig Smith scored to tie the game. Morozov led everyone in shots with 6 and was named the first star. Moscow suffered an injury in the game, as captain Dustin Brown went down with a groin pull. It is likely he will miss a game or two in the second round. Brown is the right wing on Spartak’s top line and he was their second leading scorer during the regular season. Despite the quick exit from the playoffs, Eagles fans should be proud of the improvement their team showed in Season 4. After two consecutive seasons finishing last in the league, Stockholm improved from 57 to 82 points in the standings and finished 15th overall. They had two 30-goal scorers in Mike Richards (31) and Jeff Carter (30). Their best plus-minus player was Colin Greening (+17) and their goalie Braden Holtby finished with a .904 save percentage.
Gothenburg 5, Minsk 3 – Series tied 2-2
Home ice advantage paid off for the Devils as they tied their series with the Hussars and guaranteed another home game in the series. The star on Tuesday was Blake Wheeler, who assisted on a powerplay goal, then on a Mark Fraser goal that made it 4-2, and then he added an insurance goal in the third period to make it 5-3. Fraser and Zac Rinaldo dropped their gloves after the faceoff to start the third period. Both players scored goals earlier in the game and Rinaldo was tossed for instigating. A highlight for Minsk came in the second period when Alexander Burmistrov scored a shorthanded goal to reduce Gothenburg’s lead from 3-1 to 3-2. Gothenburg outshot Minsk 31-18. The Hussars need to get their top players going and home ice on Thursday might be the medicine they need. Ryan McDonagh and Michael Del Zotto lead the team in ice time but are -4 and -3 respectively with only 2 assists between them. The top forward line of Nicklas Backstrom, Jakub Voracek and Milan Lucic has 3 goals in the 4 games. Adam Henrique, who centers Gothenburg’s top line, has been their best player thus far, with 6 points and four more takeaways than giveaways.
Belfast 5, Helsinki 4 – Belfast leads series 3-1
Belfast scored four goals in the third period to douse Helsinki’s dream of tying the series before a return to Northern Ireland. Heading into the last period, Helsinki was up 3-1 in goals and 25-23 in shots. But Belfast’s big names came through for the Giants. Joe Pavelski scored twice and added an assist in the four-goal spurt, with P.K. Subban assisting on the first two goals of the period. Sidney Crosby and Vladimir Tarasenko also scored. Helsinki made it a one-goal game with 3:37 remaining when Paul Stasny scored for the second time in the game and fourth time in the series, but despite pulling their goalie, they couldn’t do much against the Giants and Jonathan Quick. Belfast could end the series on home ice Thursday. Both teams are completely healthy at the moment.
Copenhagen 3, Edinburgh 2 – Copenhagen leads series 3-1
The Tridents are a game away from knocking out the third seed in the Northern Conference, but Game 4 will be played on Scottish ice, where the Caps were 26-12-3 during the regular season. On Tuesday, Nathan Gerbe broke a 1-1 tie in the third period and Alexander Ovechkin scored his third of the series to put the home team ahead 3-1. Edinburgh’s John Tavares scored for the first time in the series with 2:42 left, but Copenhagen held on for the win in regulation time. Boyd Gordon of Copenhagen led everyone in hits with 7, had an assist, a blocked shot and won the majority of his faceoffs. The Tridents’ top defense pairing of Shea Weber and Dion Phaneuf have played well in the playoffs, combining for a plus 2 rating, two goals, 7 points, 19 hits and 12 blocked shots.