Belfast gets to Price early; Lisbon now in second

Belfast 5, Minsk 3 – The two … umm, giants … of the league (one is actually called the Giants) battled in Belfast Wednesday and although the visiting Hussars came out flying, their goalie let them down early. While Belfast’s Jonathan Quick spent the first period turning away 13 Minsk shots, Hussar starter Carey Price  allowed three goals on eight shots. The rest of the contest was pretty evenly played, but Minsk couldn’t catch up. Minsk’s top line was shut out, although Thomas Powell picked up some of the slack by scoring twice. And for Belfast, forwards Mikko Lehtonen, Evander Kane and Sergei Mozyakin scored two points each, as did rugged defenseman Micki Dupont. Smooth-skating Justin Faulk played a high-caliber game with 6 hits, 3 shots and 2 blocked shots for Belfast. The two teams now share the league lead with 118 points, although Minsk has two games left to Belfast’s one.

St. Petersburg 5, Dublin 2 – Even if they don’t sneak past Dublin and into the playoffs, the St. Petersburg Krasnyye Zvezdy have made some exciting memories for their fans these last few weeks. They have won six of their last nine games and beat Dublin twice in that stretch. On Wednesday, a third-period flurry allowed the Red Stars to take the lead and pull away from the Fighting Irish and the win keeps the Russians’ faint playoff hopes alive. The rally in the third period was started by a rookie playing his first game in the league. Patrik Laine looked like he has EURO-caliber shot and he used it to fire a puck past Cam Talbot and make the score 3-2 with 9:48 remaining. About five minutes later, Marcus Foligno added an insurance goal and Patric Hornquist scored into an empty net. Erik Johnson of St. Petersburg was the game’s first star with a goal and two assists.

Lisbon 6, Geneva 5 (OT-SO) – Nobody wants to draw Lisbon in the first round of the playoffs because John Tavares, Steven Stamkos and Matt Moulson have been on fire lately. And on Wednesday in Geneva, Ryan Kesler poked his head into the spotlight, scoring a hat trick for the Portuguese team. Tavares scored the first two goals of the game and then Kesler scored his first two to put the visitors up 4-0 just 11 minutes into the game. But the crowd volume gradually went up and up and up as the Generals scored four times to tie it. Then Kesler scored again and Geneva defenseman Jason Garrison scored the only goal of the third period to send the game into overtime and eventually to a shootout that was ended on Drew Doughty’s goal. Lisbon moves into second place in the Southern Conference as the leader of the Schloder Division. For now, at least. The suddenly-in-sixth-place Berlin Smurfs need to accumulate 3 points in their last 3 games to retake second place. If both teams finish with 99 points and 47 wins, Lisbon will win the division because they have a better goals differential.

Bratislava 5, Zurich 2 – The Eagles were 3-for-3 on the powerplay and that was a big reason they beat the Lions in Switzerland. Tyler Toffoli scored two of those powerplay goals and Alex Ovechkin scored the other, while Jonathan Toews, Bratislava’s leading scorer, tallied twice. T.J. Oshie and Brad Richards scored for Zurich and when Richards scored, he tied the score 2-2 early in the second period. Either Bratislava or Madrid will finish as the top team in the Southern Conference.

Gothenburg 4, Helsinki 1 – Sometimes, Helsinki’s rough and tumble style costs them. Wednesday against Gothenburg was one of those times. The Jokerit took 8 penalties and Frolunda capitalized three times. Cal Clutterbuck scored two goals for the winners and he assisted on a meaningless Carl Hagelin goal with 4 seconds left. Veteran Pavel Datsyuk scored Helsinki’s lone goal and it ruined the shutout bid of Gothenburg goalie Pekka Rinne, playing in his native Finland. The two teams are nearly tied in the standings at third and fourth place in the North. Helsinki leads Gothenburg by a point. Helsinki defenseman Daniel Fernholm, a Swede, had 11 hits in the game.

London 6, Stockholm 2 – The Dons won convincingly and sent Bern to the basement in the overall standings. Halfway through the game, it looked as if London would hold onto 24th place, as Jack Eichel set up Bryan Little for two Stockholm goals, But then London scored six unanswered goals against Braden Holtby. Jake Gardiner, a defenseman, led the way with 6 shots, 2 goals, an assist and a plus 4 rating. Other multi-point men were Sam Gagner (3 assists) and Rick Nash (2 assists). Poor performances were turned in by Stockholm forwards Brendan Gallagher, Bobby Ryan and Davis Krejci, all minus 4, as well as minus 3 defensemen Keith Yandle and Zach Bogosian.

 

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