Lehtonen, Giroux lead Belfast over Minsk

Belfast 4, Minsk 2 – Mikko Lehtonen scored twice in the first period and Claude Giroux scored a pair in the second period as Belfast passed Stockholm for second place in the Northern Conference while making up some ground on the conference-leading Hussars. Coach Alain Vigneault’s Giants shut down the Hussars’ top line of Milan Lucic, Patrick Kane and Nicklas Backstrom, as all three big guns failed to score a point. Defenseman Justin Faulk of Belfast was very visible, assisting on one goal, delivering five hits and blocking three shots. Giroux came to Belfast in a trade last season after putting together three 40-plus-goal seasons with Edinburgh and Lisbon. But he only tallied 21 times last season. Now, he is on a pace to get near the 40-goal mark again. Lehtonen, only 24, is seeing increased ice time this season and he’s responding with the highest shooting percentage in his six seasons.

Milan 6, Prague 3 – Milan hit the six-goal mark for the second time this season, getting two goals out of Nick Bjugstad and one each from four other forwards. Every one of Milan’s goal scorers had 3 goals this season coming into the game. Andrey Vasilevskiy of Prague was beaten for five goals before Joakim Lindstrom scored into an empty net with 28 seconds to play. Prague has allowed more goals than any other team this season, yielding 4.06 per game. It was the second game in a row that they were scored on 6 times, but that’s nothing compared to the way they started the season, when they allowed teams to score 6 goals in 7 of their first 9 games. The Guerriero have not yielded more than 5 goals in any Season 7 game.

Paris 3, Bern 1 – Paris poured on the offense against the Interrail, but Bern goalie Joonas Korpisalo was able to keep the score respectable. Corey Perry assisted on Paris’ first two goals, which were both scored by defensemen (Ken Kuusk and Alex Pietrangelo) and Jack Callow scored his first EURO League goal while Paris was shorthanded in the middle of the third period. Kyle Turris made a nice pass on the play from the corner to Korpisalo’s right. Dmitry Orlov scored Bern’s goal, his 9th of the season. That ties him for third place among defensemen in goal scoring.

Madrid 3, Bratislava 2 (OT-SO) – While the top three teams in the standings all took losses Thursday, fourth-place Madrid gained on them by taking the extra point in a shootout in Slovakia. Chris Kreider opened the scoring in the first period for Madrid, and Blake Wheeler gave the Royals the lead again in the second with his 11th of the year. But when Jonathan Toews scored to knot the game at 2-2, the teams had to play overtime and a shootout. Gabriel Landeskog and then Wheeler scored on Marc-Andre Fleury to give the visitors the win. Former Eagle David Schlemko had 3 blocked shots and 3 hits for Madrid against his former teammates.

Edinburgh 3, Zurich 1 – An unexpected slow start for Zurich continued as the 19th-place team dropped a home game to one of the teams below it in the standings. Kevin Hayes started his Capitals on the right foot with a first-period goal, and teammate Carl Soderburg scored shorthanded before Jamie Benn made it 3-0 late in the second period. Zurich finally got a puck past Jakub Kovac and into the Edinburgh net, but Tyson Barrie’s 5th of the year was all they could muster. Patrice Bergeron led all players in shots with 7 and he played well for the Lions.

Munich 6, Lisbon 5 – Talgat Zhailauov scored the only goal of the third period to erase the nice work done by Lisbon in the second period and force overtime. Lisbon started the game well, scoring two powerplay goals, but Munich took control after that, building a 4-2 lead. Zhailauov got that four-goal run started with his 8th of the year. But late in the second period, Steven Stamkos scored once for Lisbon and teammate Wayne Simmonds added two quick goals and suddenly, the Portuguese team had a 5-4 lead. Lisbon goalie Hayden Hawkey was only able to stop one of the four shooters in the shootout and Munich took the extra point. Simmonds and Joe Pavelski each scored 4 points for Lisbon, while Dire Wolf Zhailauov scored 3 to go with 4 blocked shots. He also scored in the shootout.

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