Stastny, Vanek finding early chemistry in Helsinki

Helsinki 5, St. Petersburg 2 – Paul Stastny, Helsinki’s 30-year-old star center, averaged more than a point per game in each of the first three seasons before dipping below that pace last season. He’s up over a point per game again this season and the chemistry he has with his new linemate Thomas Vanek has to be part of the reason. Vanek has 10 points in 10 games and he has never scored at that pace in the EURO League. On Thursday, both men scored 3 points and their other linemate, Alexander Radulov, had 2 points. The Red Stars opened the scoring on a Valtteri Filppula goal, but Helsinki took control of the game shortly thereafter, pulling away with five consecutive goals. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Helsinki did a lot of hitting on Thursday. Jack Johnson was credited with 9 hits all by himself. His team totaled 39 hits while St. Petersburg had 22.

Athens 6, Copenhagen 5 (shootout) – Athens trailed in Copenhagen 5-2 with less than 16 minutes to play, but they scored 3 times on Trident goalie Tim Thomas to send the game to overtime and eventually to a shootout where Vadim Shipachyov was the only man able to score. A key moment came about halfway through the third period with Copenhagen clinging to a one-goal lead. Martin Erat of the Tridents took a major penalty and Athens was able to capitalize with a game-tying shot by Scott Hartnell. Third-line center Bobby Butler had an assist and now has points in 5 straight games, giving him 9 points in 10 games. Josh Holden scored twice for Copenhagen and he has 3 goals in the last 2 games. Trident rookie Simon Hjalmarsson scored a goal in his EURO debut.

Berlin 3, Gothenburg 2 – Unfortunately for the official scorekeeper in Gothenburg, he had to spell the name of Smurf defenseman Gerhard Unterluggauer three times on Thursday. The Austrian assisted on two Loui Eriksson goals in the first period and then he scored himself in the second period and that tally held as the game-winning goal. He’s pretty used to getting game-winners. In fact, the only defenseman in EURO history who has scored more game-winning goals than Unterluggauer is Athens’ Dustin Byfuglien. And Unterluggauer wasn’t drafted until after Season 1. David Krejci was impressive for Berlin, getting 2 assists, 6 shots, 2 hits and 2 blocked shots while winning 14 of 18 faceoffs. Adam Henrique and Carl Hagelin had 2 points each for Gothenburg.

Lisbon 5, Milan 1 – Lisbon is looking fierce at home lately. On Thursday, they outshot the Guerriero 40-22, scored two goals in each of the first two periods and once more in the third. John Tavares scored two goals and he now has 7 this season, which puts him in a tie for second in the league behind surprise leader Kyle Palmieri, a third-line winger for Athens, who has 8. Alex Steen had 3 assists for Lisbon and teammate Zach Parise had a goal and 8 shots on goal. Alex Stalock stopped 35 shots for Milan and Danny Dekeyser had 5 hits. It was Lisbon’s third straight victory, with all three games coming on home ice. They outscored their opponents by a combined 15-3 during that stretch.

Minsk 7, Stockholm 1 – Thirteen different players contributed to a balanced and relentless attack by Minsk on Thursday. The Hussars outshot Stockholm 33-14 and had a 3-0 lead in the first period before Nick Foligno scored to get the Eagles onto the scoreboard. Four players had 2-point games for Minsk, namely Ryan McDonagh, Gustav Nyquist, Colin Wilson and Marius Holtet. Jeff Carter of Stockholm was as good as any skater could be on the downhill side of a 7-1 score. He had 4 shots on goal, 7 hits and 5 blocked shots.

London 2, Bern 1 – The Dons had a big shot advantage in the game (38-21) but the score was even for most of the contest. It took a Jeff Skinner goal with 11:26 left in the third period to win it. Bern’s Mike Smith made 36 saves, giving him 71 saves in 24 hours. Teddy Purcell and Brandon Saad had 2 points each for London.

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