Backstrom, Chudinov lead Minsk

Minsk 5, Edinburgh 2 – Nicklas Backstrom scored twice and defenseman Maxim Chudinov added three assists in another convincing Minsk win. The Hussars outshot the Capitals 43-23. Backstrom seemed to overwhelm Sidney Crosby in the game. Likewise for their lines. Edinburgh’s top three seemed to be on the defensive most of the night, although Crosby and Jamie Benn were able to block a total of 7 shots. Backstrom had 9 shots on goal and won 12 of 18 faceoffs. Chudinov now leads all EURO defensemen in scoring and he and teammate Janne Niskala share the league lead in plus-minus ratings.

Athens 4, St. Petersburg 1 – The game was close until the Gods pulled away with a dominant third period. They outshot St. Petersburg 17-4 in that period and got big goals from Brandon Sutter and Vadim Shipachyov. It was Shipachyov’s second tally of the game and he currently leads his team in goals with 7, although he is minus 9 for the season so far. Andrew Ladd had a good game for Athens with 3 points and 6 shots on goal.

Moscow 3, Bern 2 – The teams took turns having dominating periods, with Moscow outshooting Bern 22-8 in the first period and 13-6 in the third, and the Interrail outshooting the visitors 16-4 in the second. Nathan Gerbe scored both Bern goals and he now has 5 this season. The little forward has bounced around the league and Bern is his sixth team. The most goals he has scored in a season is 15 with Copenhagen in Season 4. For Moscow, Ryan Suter and David Backes each had a goal and an assist in the game and Alexander Salak earned the win with 28 saves in the Dynamo net.

Gothenburg 6, Munich 2 – Backup goalie Robert Kristan made his sixth straight start for the Munich Dire Wolf and he looks ready for a rest. Six of Gothenburg’s 22 shots got past him Monday. By contrast, Frolunda goalie Pekka Rinne was sharp, stopping 35 of 37 Munich shots. On offense, John Carlson, Petr Vrana, Adam Henrique and Jordan Eberle made things purr with a total of 9 points. There has been speculation – but nothing confirmed – in Bavaria about why Munich’s regular starting goalie, Cory Schneider, who is healthy, is not playing. Several fans say Schneider and Coach Mike Sullivan are at odds because the older Sullivan beat Schneider four straight times in EA’s NHL ’17. Others claim Sullivan called Schneider’s dog Brodie (named after Martin Brodeur) ugly, a comment they said the goalie can’t get over. Still others point out that Schneider lost all five of his starts this season.

London 3, Copenhagen 2 (OT-SO) – Rick Nash scored through a screen with 8:33 remaining in regulation time and his team pulled out a road win after going to a shootout that lasted five rounds. Fourth-liner Jason Zucker scored the winner in the shootout. Drew Shore was Copenhagen’s most effective player with a goal and an assist. He and linemates Chris Higgins and Mathieu Perreault have been the Tridents’ best unit this season and at plus 6 for the season, they are the only three Copenhagen players with positive ratings.

Stockholm 4, Prague 2 – It doesn’t make much sense that Sparta would conquer Paris in Paris and then turn around and drop a game at home the next day, but that’s what happened, much to the disappointment of 19,891 Czech fans. Sparta players had a little trouble getting the legs going and about 14 minutes into the contest, they were trailing 2-0 courtesy of goals by Stockholm forwards Brendan Gallagher and Ryan Johansen. It was Johansen’s first tally of the season. Bryan Little of Stockholm had a goal and an assist and was the only skater in the game with more than one point. Little plays on the Eagles’ second line with Mat Zuccarello and David Krejci and they have put together some strange stats lines. Krejci leads the team in scoring, but he hasn’t scored a goal yet in 11 games. He does have 13 assists though, which puts him in the EURO League lead in that category. Zuccarello has benefitted the most from Krejci’s generous passing. He is tied for the league lead in goals with 10 to go with 2 assists. Little now has 3 goals and 5 assists.

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