Three favored teams off to good starts in second round

With each series a game in, three favored teams jumped out to good starts with convincing wins.

Belfast 3, Copenhagen 0 – The Giants looked huge, outshooting the Tridents 42-21 and 17-5 in the final period. Ondrej Palat and P.K. Subban started Copenhagen’s pain by scoring first-period goals, with Palat adding another in the third period. Evander Kane and Victor Hedman didn’t score for the Giants, but they were thorns in the side of the Tridents.Kane fired 8 shots on Trident goalie Andres De La Garma and Hedman had 6 shots on goal to go with 4 hits. According to the crazy statistician at the game, Copenhagen did a great job of dumping and chasing the puck, but Belfast’s defense and goalie Jonathan Quick negate Copenhagen’s progress with smart play in the defensive zone. Defenseman Slava Voynov was the most effective Trident in the game, getting off 4 shots, blocking 3 Belfast shots and delivering 3 hits.

Minsk 2, Moscow 1 – The Hussars only won by a goal, but they dominating Moscow in shots, 41-16. The offensive star of the game for Minsk was an unlikely one: Jacob Josefson. The 26-year-old Stockholm native scored both Minsk goals, one less than two minutes into the second period after taking a pass from Patrick Kane and the other with about 14 minutes remaining in the game, a deflection of a Ryan McDonagh slapshot that got past Moscow goalie Alexander Salak. The only Hussar with more goals in the playoffs than Josefson (3 goals) is Jordan Staal, who has 4. Moscow was able to tie the score at 1-1 with 3:44 left in the second period when Dustin Brown snapped a wrist shot that beat Carey Price.

Bratislava 4, Milan 0 – Shots were 45-17 in favor of Bratislava and Marc-Andre Fleury got a shutout for the Eagles. Milan’s bigger, stronger forwards, who had some success in the first-round series against the Berlin Smurfs, seemed to have trouble against Bratislava, which boasts some big boys in Tyler Myers, Brent Burns, Martin Hanzal and Wei Yang Zhang, to name four. Bratislava’s best offensive line of Jonathan Toews, Alexander Ovechkin and Tyler Ennis were on the ice for both even-strength goals and Ovechkin figured in on two powerplay goals. Ovechkin, Myers and Burns all finished with 3 points. Milan got good efforts from Andrew MacDonald and Luca Sbisa, who both blocked 5 shots.

Lisbon 4, Athens 3 – The closest game of the second round saw Lisbon steal Athens’ home-ice advantage, at least for the time being. A controversial goal might have been the difference between a  win and a loss for the two teams. Lisbon was leading 2-1 as the second period was winding down to its last few seconds, and Lisbon top line winger Steven Stamkos faked a shot and carried the puck in closer to goal … but Athens defenseman Dennis Seidenberg didn’t bite. The German defenseman angled Stamkos toward the corner, and with time dwindling to maybe 2 seconds left, Stamkos threw the puck to the front of the net, hoping for the best. It caromed off John Tavares’ skate right to Matt Moulson’s stick blade and the veteran winger fired it into the net at about the same time the period ended. The goal was waved off by Swedish referee Sven Hjortsberg but after a video review, it was a ruled to be a good goal. Athens seemed to have trouble recovering from the goal and Drew Doughty scored his first of the playoffs for Lisbon to make the score 4-1 with 12:23 remaining in the game. With the home fans behind them, Athens was able to start a rally, getting two powerplay goals from star Logan Couture, but the rally sputtered and fell short. Tavares ended up with a 4-point game and he was 22-10 in the faceoff circle in the game. The worst part of it for the Greeks, aside from suffering a one-goal loss, was the fact Mark Giordano was checked into the boards by Wayne Simmonds early in the second period and he is lost for the remainder of the series. Giordano has bounced around the league a lot – 7 teams in 7 seasons – but he was holding down an important slot in the lineup for the Greeks. With Niklas Kronwall already hurt, Athens has had to press Ladislav Smid and Bobby Sanguinetti into more action than they want.

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