Athens 4, Berlin 3 – Bobby Butler scored the winning goal for Athens with 3:36 to play and from then on, goalie Jaroslav Halak kept the Smurfs from tying the game. But the real damage to the Smurfs came from their old buddies. Alexander Edler, a Gods defenseman who was traded from Berlin after six seasons as a Smurf, scored two goals and was named the game’s first star, and Loui Erikssen, who plays on Athens’ second line with Logan Couture – both were Smurfs last season – scored a powerplay goal after a nifty feed from Brandon Sutter while Berlin’s Ryan Callahan was serving a 5-minute checking from behind penalty. Eriksson, 32, is now the league leader in goals with 19. The four-time all-star scored 30 or more goals in each of his first four seasons in the league, then a career-high 40 in Season 5 before dipping to 26 goals last season. His shooting percentage is 20.9, which is surprisingly only 15th best among players who have played at least 20 games. The leader on that list, Danis Zaripov of St. Petersburg, has played 22 games and has a 27.3 shooting percentage, but he is a fourth-liner who has only taken 22 shots (6 goals). One would say, “Yeah, but Zaripov’s center on that fourth line is playmaker extraordinaire Joe Thornton, so of course he’s going to get quality shots.” But here is the truly mind-boggling part: in 22 games, Thornton doesn’t have a single assist.
Milan 4, Bern 1 – A burst of energy near the end of the second period lifted Milan to a win over Bern as the Guerriero were able to take 2 points with them when they hopped back over the Alps. The game was tied 1-1 when defensemen Danny DeKeyser and Chris Tanev scored on long shots four-and-a-half minutes apart and then, while Milan was on a powerplay, they delivered a painful blow when Marcus Kruger beat Bern goalie Joonas Korpisalo with just 4 seconds left in the period. It was Kruger’s second goal of the game. The game featured a fight between Olli Malmivaara of Bern and Milan’s Luca Sbisa early in the final period. Malmivaara definitely won the battle but it did nothing to swing momentum in the game. Alex Stalock was solid in goal for Milan, making 40 stops.
Lisbon 5, Madrid 2 – Iberian Peninsula neighbors Lisbon and Madrid clashed for the first time this season, with the team from the coast coming out on top. The game was sort of like three mini games. Lisbon HC won the first and third periods and Madrid triumphed in the second, when they poured 22 shots on Lisbon’s goal and scored both of their goals. Lisbon’s celebrated line of Steven Stamkos, John Tavares and Matt Moulson found ways to rack up the points Thursday. They scored a goal against Madrid’s top line, a goal against its second line and they scored on the powerplay. Tavares ended the game with three assists to lead all scorers and he won an incredible 25 of 29 faceoffs. The two teams are among the league’s very best this season. Lisbon is now in second place overall, 2 points behind Minsk, while Madrid is tied with Bratislava for third.
Moscow 3, Copenhagen 2 – The Dynamo were outshot 31-21, had to fight back to tie the game, were ineffective in overtime, but deadly in the shootout and they took home two road points. Copenhagen’s defensemen figured prominently in the team’s two goals with Ilya Nikulin scoring and Dougie Hamilton, Ian White and Slava Voynov getting assists, but Moscow fought back to tie the contest with third period goals by Gerhard Unterluggauer and Jyri Marttinen, who are also defensemen. The shootout stretched to four rounds and Moscow scored three times with Branden Pirri scoring the winning goal.
Minsk 3, Edinburgh 1 – The Capitals looked good against Minsk, but Carey Price refused to give up the one goal that would have tied the game in the third. Milan Lucic scored his team-leading 18th goal of the season to give the Hussars the lead in the first, and after a scoreless second period, Alex Burmistrov scored his 3rd of the season to make it 2-0. Sam Reinhart finally beat Price with 10:44 to play, but that was all Edinburgh could do on offense. Janne Niskala added an empty-net goal for Minsk.
Stockholm 6, London 1 – It was all over but the shouting by the time the first intermission rolled around. In a 13-minute span of the first period, Stockholm blew huge holes in the Dons’ game plan, scoring 6 times. The first five goals came against starting goalie Martin Jones and the sixth against sub Ryan Miller. Doing the most damage for the Eagles was defenseman John Klingberg, who scored two goals and now has four on the season. Other goal scorers for Stockholm were Bryan Little, Jack Eichel, Tomas Jurco and Bobby Ryan. London wound up outshooting Stockholm 30-25, but the only shot that got past goalie Braden Holtby was rookie Rasmus Ristolainen’s first-ever EURO League goal.