Copenhagen 2, Moscow 1 – Copenhagen wins series 4-0
Brian Elliott has pulled off one of the most amazing goalie performances in EURO history, limiting the defending champion Moscow Spartak to just 1 goal per game and allowing his Trident teammates to skate away with a series sweep. On Thursday, Elliott made 36 saves and he shut out Moscow for the first two periods (26 shots) and 12 minutes of the third period. By then, Copenhagen had opened up a 2-goal hole in Moscow with unlikely sources Nathan Gerbe and Martin Thornberg getting their 4th and 3rd goals of the playoffs, respectively. Copenhagen and Elliott were finding it difficult enough to protect a slim one-goal lead against Spartak late in the game, but veteran Troy Brouwer made it even more of a challenge when he was whistled for interference away from the puck – a totally unnecessary penalty with 4:20 left. But Trident penalty killers like Alexander Ovechkin, Brooks Laich, Shea Weber and Andrej Meszaros – and Elliott – shut down the Moscow powerplay. That was a running theme in the series. Moscow’s PP units were 0 for 16 in the series. Moscow ended up outshooting Copenhagen in three of the four games – 131 to 87 combined – but Elliott was too good. And the Trident offense showed Moscow-like balance. They scored 11 goals in the four games, but no player had a multi-point game. Gerbe scored 3 goals in the series, Weber, Laich and Stephen Weiss scored 2 each, with Thornberg and Drew Shore scoring the other goals. Brouwer and Tomas Flesichmann each had 3 assists to lead the team in that department during the series. Alexander Ovechkin didn’t produce a shot on goal in Game 4 and he had only 2 assists in the series. GM Dylan “Dog Killer” Callow will be looking for more from the great Russian when they play the winner of the Belfast-Minsk series.
Belfast 3, Minsk 1 – Belfast leads series 3-1
The Minsk Hussars played a spirited game at home and outshot Belfast 39-24, but lost for the third time in four games this series. Jonathan Quick, the former Munich netminder, made 38 saves to give Belfast the win. Sidney Crosby, who has 11 points in 8 games of his first playoff season, engineered the Giants offense to three goals. He set up James Neal in the first period and Nazem Kadri in the second before scoring a goal of his own late in the third period. That tally gave Belfast its second two-goal lead of the game. Victor Hedman was Quick’s best friend on Thursday. The giant Swede blocked 4 Minsk shots and dished out 7 hits in his 17 minutes of ice time. Jakub Voracek was the Hussars’ most dangerous player, firing 8 shots on Quick’s net. The teams will return to Ireland for Game 5 on Saturday.