Oslo 5, Belfast 2– Where did that come from? The league’s 24th-ranked team out-skated and out-played the two-time defending champs Thursday night, winning by 3 goals. Oslo’s Connor McDavid is already making a name for himself in Norway. The 18-year-old whiz kid is playing up to lofty expectations with 26 points in 23 games for the Outlaws, to go along with more takeaways than giveaways and a plus 3 rating. And he is currently fourth in the league among rookie scorers despite joining the EURO League about 40 games into the season. On Thursday against the Giants, McDavid played 14 minutes and led everyone in scoring with a goal and two assists. Understandably, McDavid hasn’t climbed over Tyler Seguin on the team depth chart, but he’s playing like a first-line center. Tomas Hertl and David Jones are his linemates at the moment and both men scored against Belfast. A couple of other young Outlaws contributed to the win. Viktor Antipin blocked 5 Belfast shots in the game and goalie Semyon Varlamov stopped 21 of 23 Belfast shots.
Madrid 6, Lisbon 3 – In beating their fellow Iberian Peninsula foes, the Madrid Royals won for the second time in as many days and seem poised to overtake Berlin for second place in the Southern Conference. The Smurfs are a point ahead of Madrid, but the Royals have three games in hand. Steven Stamkos and Lisbon looked potent on the powerplay, scoring three times, but they lost the game during the sections of the game when they didn’t have the man advantage. Madrid scored twice in every period, with six different players getting goals. Derek Stepan and Erik Karlsson led the way, each getting a goal and two assists to go with 4 shots and a plus 2 rating. Center Sean Couturier had a goal and 3 shot blocks.
Milan 4, Moscow 3 (OT-SO) – The Guerriero shocked the Moscow faithful by coming back late to tie the game and then win in a shootout. With 7 minutes left, Moscow had a 3-1 lead, but Mark Letestu and Peter Mueller beat Viktor Fasth to force overtime. In the shootout, Swedish youngsters Nklas Danielsson and Par Arlbrandt scored to send the fans home unhappy. T.J. Brennan had 5 hits and 3 blocked shots for Milan, while goalie Andrew Hammond stopped 42 Moscow shots.
Dublin 3, Bratislava 2 (OT-SO) – Veteran Olexander Pobyedonostsev has scored 5 goals this season and two of them have come in the last two games – both against Bratislava. On Thursday, he tied the game in the third period. Bratislava came out strong and scored twice in the first 3 minutes and 6 seconds of the game, but they seemed to let up with the lead that was erased by Ryan Kesler and Pobyedobnostsev goals. Kesler led all skaters in shots with 6, and he also blocked 3 Eagles shots for goalie Brian Elliott.
Zurich 3, Copenhagen 2 – The home team made the most of two powerplay chances, scoring on both, en route to a narrow win over Copenhagen. A goal by rookie defenseman Alexander Weiss stood up as the lone goal when the third period started, and Zurich went up 2-0 on an Ilya Kovalchuk wrist shot. A Patrick Sharp goal later made it 3-1 for the Lions and it was the eventual game-winner. Weiss assisted on the Sharp goal and both of the German youngster’s points came on the powerplay. The Tridents’ Stephen Weiss, no relation to Alexander, also picked up an assist on Devin Setoguchi’s goal that made it 3-2 with 42 seconds left to play, but Zurich held on for the win. Damien Brunner also scored for Copenhagen. Marc Staal and Braydon Coburn went all Helsinki on the Tridents, each registering 7 hits for Zurich.
Geneva 2, Berlin 1 – In a low-scoring game, David Desharnais scored a big goal for Geneva in the third period and teammate Nazem Kadri scored an unassisted goal on the only shot in overtime to beat Jimmy Howard and the Smurfs. Kadri came to Geneva as part of a deadline deal that had Sergei Mozyakin going to Northern Ireland. David Krejci notched his 25th goal of the season for Berlin. More than anyone else, Ondrej Pavelec, the game’s first star, was responsible for the win. The goalie stopped 33 of 34 Berlin shots. After five seasons with Frankfurt, Belfast and Geneva, Pavelec is having the best stretch of his career. The Czech is technically the backup goalie to two-time all-star Frederik Andersen, but in 18 appearances this season, Pavelec has a 91.4 save percentage, which is well above his previous best of 88.7 percent in Season 2 with the Giants.
TRIVIA answer: Moscow