Madrid battles to stay alive; Bratislava advances

Madrid 3, Lisbon 1 – Madrid Royals and their coach Dan Bylsma collectively and sternly said “Not so fast” on Tuesday. Trailing 3-1 in the first round of the playoffs, the Royals kept Lisbon from closing it out. Now they have to repeat the feat two more times. Shea Weber sparked the home crowd and the team with a powerplay blast to open the scoring, but before the first period was over, Matt Moulson and the Lisbon powerplay had countered. The teams struggled through a tight, scoreless second period, and in the third, Madrid turned it up a notch, outshooting Lisbon 19-6 and tallying twice to win 3-1. Patrik Berglund scored one of the goals and he and Andrew Cogliano were the only players with multi-point games. Berglund, a forward, also blocked more shots (4) than anyone else. John Tavares tried his best to finish the series, firing 8 shots on Madrid’s Robin Lehner, but the Royals thwarted that effort.

Paris 6, Athens 3 – Paris received goals from six different sources and the home team has won every game in this series. Alexander Semin was voted as the first star after scoring a goal that staked the Rouges Eiffels to a 3-0 lead and he added two assists – all his points coming in the second period. Anze Koptiar of Athens got the better of Evgeny Malkin in a battle of bog, skilled centers, but Paris’ Tuukka Rask was a better goalie than God Alexander Salak in the game. The Paris powerplay looked scary, generating 9 scoring chances and a goal in two man-advantage situations.

Berlin 4, Milan 2 – Angered by a crack about Smurfberry juice, the Smurfs overran Milan Tuesday, doing most of their damage in the second period. Milan had a lead when the second period began after scoring a pair of powerplay goals a period earlier, but Ryan Callahan willed Berlin into the lead to stay. He scored an even-strength goal five minutes into the period and then picked up a pair of assists on powerplay goals by Nathan Horton and Simon Despres. While the second period was relatively sluggish (Berlin outshot Milan 9-2) the third period had the tempo of a 100-meter dash, with the Smurfs outshooting the Guerriero 17-12. Jimmy Howard, who was a backup to Calvin Pickard in the regular season, has played in 4 of the 5 playoff games for Berlin, and 32-year-old Horton, who played in only 4 games during the regular season, has come out of hiding and played in 4 games in the series, equally his regular season point of 2. Nikolai Kulemin, 31, was also saved for the playoffs. All 5 games he has played since last season were in this series. Defenseman Roman Polak also falls into the category of Smurfs who sat during the regular season so younger players can gain experience. Polak played in 20 games during the regular season and he’s been in every game of the playoffs thus far.

Bratislava 6, Munich 1 – The Eagles put together a beautiful series of five games with around 40 shots on goal and few or no penalties, and that consistency wore down Cory Schneider, the outstanding goalie for Munich who stole one playoff game for his team. Alexander Ovechkin was the offensive star of the game, scoring a pair of powerplay goals and Martin Hanzal returned from the injured list to deposit a shorthanded goal behind Schneider. Other Bratislava players who had a lot of success Tuesday were Jonathan Toews (4 assists, 5 shots) and Wei Yang Zhang (3 points, 5 shots).




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