Two of the great cities of Europe finally have two of the great teams in the EURO League. It took London longer to reach the high ground that Paris has occupied for the last four-plus seasons, but in a head-to-head battle on Monday, the Dons proved they are now a force in the league.
London won at home 4-3, hammering Paris goalie Tuukka Rask with at least 12 shots every period. London scored three powerplay goals in the second period, but it was Taylor Hall’s 10th of the season a period later that proved to be the game winner. Hall, Teddy Purcell and Rick Nash all scored 2 points for the winners, while David Perron did the same in a losing cause for Paris. Kevin Shattenkirk played a large role in the win for London, scoring a goal, blocking 3 Paris shots and registering 4 hits.
Through 20 games, Paris leads the league in points with 34 and London is two points back in third place. The second-place Minsk Hussars could tie Paris for the lead tonight, but to do it they will have to beat 5th-ranked Belfast. It will be the first meeting of the season between the two Northern Conference brutes. Jonathan Quick and Carey Price are expected to be the starting goalies. Minsk will be without right wing Alexander Burmistrov, who is out with a lower body injury.
In other games from Monday: ( I am going to try to do these recaps more often)
Madrid 2, Milan 1 – Andrew Hammond nearly stole a game for the Guerriero, saving 41 of the Royals’ 43 shots, but Robin Lehner was equally outstanding in the other net. Both teams scored a powerplay goal each before Chris Kreider netted the winner midway through period three for Madrid. The 25-year-old Kreider was one of four players with 5 shots in the game. It was only his second goal of the year, but he has been given much more ice time this year by Coach Dan Bylsma and he is already more than halfway to his career high of 23 points in a season.
Lisbon 4, Dublin 3 – A goal by Steven Stamkos in the last minute of play sent the Lisbon fans into a frenzy and had Dublin leaving Portugal without a point. The goal was set up by center John Tavares who raced into the Irish end and made a backhand drop pass between his legs to Stamkos, who stepped into it and blasted it through Dublin goalie Brian Elliott. Tavares had already scored twice in the game, as he and linemate Marian Hossa each finished with 3-point games. Dublin trailed 3-1 late in the second period but were able to tie the game before intermission on goals by fourth-line center Jordan Schroeder and third-pairing defenseman Ryan Murray.
Munich 3, Geneva 2 (OT-SO) – Goalies Frederik Andersen of Geneva and Cory Schneider of Munich were tough to beat in regulation time and easy to beat in the shootout. Andersen stopped 37 shots and Schneider stopped 35 leading up to the shootout, but in the one-on-ones with shooters, Andersen allowed 3 goals on 4 shots and Schneider was only one save better. Tomas Fleischmann scored for Munich in the fourth round of the shootout and Schneider stopped Dennis Wideman to give the Dire Wolf the win at home. Although they didn’t score, Fleischmann and Craig Smith provided a lot of offense for Munich, with each man getting 7 shots on goal. Geneva’s Marian Gaborik led everyone in scoring with a goal and an assist.
Prague 4, Bern 3 (OT) – Ryan Getzlaf scored in overtime to give visiting Prague the extra point in the Southern Conference standings that sees the bottom six teams bunched within three points of each other. Prague was 0-5 on the powerplay, but the fact they only gave Bern one PP chance contributed to greater Prague possession and a 33-28 advantage in shots on goal. Andrey Bykov, a 24-year-old left wing who was playing center on the first line, played a major role in the win for Prague. Not only did he score the only goal of the first period, he also got a hard shot off while penalty killing and the rebound went out to defenseman Dmitri Kulikov, who scored to put Sparta up 2-0. The Bears, meanwhile have gotten good production this season from unlikely sources. Matt D’Agostini, the third-line right wing, scored his 4th of the season on Monday, while fourth-line right wing Brian Flynn tallied for the 6th time.
Athens 3, St. Petersburg 1 – If not for a Nicklas Kronwall goal with 3 seconds left, the EURO League would have had six one-goal games Monday. St. Pete outshot the visiting Greeks 35-33 in the game, with Athens’ Jaroslav Halak outdueling Petrograd backup Jacob Markstrom. Andrew Ladd was the hero for the Greeks. He scored twice in the game, with Jason Pominville assisting on both tallies. Ladd’s second goal, his 9th of the year, came with 3:36 remaining in the game. Late in the first period, Red Star Artem Anisimov scored shorthanded to break a scoreless tie. For the Russian-born St. Petersburg forward, his first first goal of the season seemed a long time coming. Four EURO forwards who each have 35 shots on goal or more are still waiting to join Anisimov in the 1 Goal Club. J.T. Miller of Stockholm has taken 35 shots without scoring; Mark Scheifele of Prague is 0 for 38 shots; Josh Bailey of Munich is scoreless in 39 shots; and Geneva’s Darren Helm has taken 42 shots without scoring. Perhaps the hardest-luck forward in the league is Sergei Mozyakin, Helm’s teammate in Geneva. The Sophomore Slump is hitting the young Russian hard after his 17-goal, 51-point rookie season. Mozyakin, who only has 9 points, has scored just once in 48 shots. The Generals will stay in Switzerland for their next game, an away affair in Bern. The two teams played there on opening day, with Bern coming out on top 3-1.