Nesterov, Nikita

European Game Day: 3-24-12

SM-liiga Quarterfinals (Finland):
(5)Assat 1 @ (4)JYP 2
JYP Leads the Series 2-0
Riku Helenius, JYP, Win, 31/32, 1.00 GAA, .969 sv%
Playoff totals: 2 GP, 2-0-0, 0 SO, 1.00 GAA, .971 sv%
Regular season totals: 33 GP, 21-9-1, 7 SO, 1.64 GAA, .936 sv%

You know you're playing amazing hockey as a goaltender when you stop 31 of 32 in a victory and your save percentage actually gets worse because of the effort. That's how embarrassingly well Riku Helenius has played in his first 2 games of the SM-liiga playoffs, though, helping to stake JYP to a 2-0 series lead. Ex-Lightning forward Eric Perrin was the first star of Game Two, assisting on both of JYP's goals. Game Three is Monday.

KHL Eastern Conference Semifinals (Russia):
Caps first rounder Evgeny Kuznetsov had a pair of goals to lead Chelyabinsk to a series clinching 4-1 win over Kazan. Traktor takes the series 4-2. Nikita Nesterov did not play in the match. The KHL Eastern Conference Finals begin Thursday with Chelyabinsk facing Omsk and former Lightning netminder Karri Ramo, which was the 2 seed. The entire Eastern Conference bracket has been chalk so far.

European Game Day: 3-22-12

SM-liiga Quarterfinals (Finland):
(4) JYP 4 @ (5) Assat 1
JYP Leads the Series 1-0
Riku Helenius, JYP, Win, 35/36, 1.00 GAA, .972 sv%
Playoff totals: 1 GP, 1-0-0, 0 SO, 1.00 GAA, .972 sv%
Regular season totals: 33 GP, 21-9-1, 7 SO, 1.64 GAA, .936 sv%

So far, so good. Riku Helenius stopped 35 of 36 shots he faced in JYP's 4-1 Game One throttling of Assat. Ex-Lightning defenseman Kristian Kudroc assisted on Assat's only goal. Game Two is Saturday.

KHL Eastern Conference Semifinals (Russia):
Danis Zaripov scored the game winner at 8:54 of the third overtime session to deliver Kazan a thrilling 2-1 Game Five win over Chelyabinsk. Chelyabinsk still holds a 3-2 edge in the series. Nikita Nesterov did not dress for Chelyabinsk. Game Six is Saturday.

European Game Day: 3-20-12

SM-liiga Playoffs (Finland):
The field of 8 is complete. Blues Espoo crushed Lukko 6-3 in Game Three of their mini play-in series, joining Karpat as the other recipient of a play-in spot. Riku Helenius and JYP will play Assat in the Quarterfinals beginning on Thursday.

KHL Eastern Conference Semifinals (Russia):
Former Blackhawks draft pick Petri Kontiola's goal late in the third period lifted Chelyabinsk to a 3-2 Game Four victory over Ak Bars Kazan. Nikita Nesterov did not play in the match. Chelyabinsk leads the series 3-1 and will go in for the kill on Thursday.

MHL Western Conference Quarterfinals (Russia Jr.):
CSKA Jr. rolled to a 7-2 Game Four victory to knot their series at 2-2. Nikita Kucherov did not play in the match. The decisive Game Five will be on Friday.

European Game Day: 3-18-12 and 3-19-12

3-18-12
KHL Eastern Conference Semifinals
Ex-NHLer Niko Kapanen scored 1:55 into overtime to lift Kazan to a critical 2-1 Game Three win over top seed Chelyabinsk. Nikita Nesterov did not dress for the match. Chelyabinsk still holds a 2-1 series lead with Game Four set for Tuesday.

SM-slutspel (Sweden):
(7)AIK 3 @ (1)Lulea 0
AIK Wins the Series 4-1
Johan Harju, Lulea, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 1-1-2, -2, 0 PIM
Regular eason totals: 53 GP, 15-10-25, +12, 16 PIM

Goaltender Viktor Fasth, who was rumored to be a Lightning free agent target, stopped all 31 shots he faced for AIK in their clinching 3-0 win over Lulea. The series loss is a crushing upset for the league's top seed.

3-19-12
MHL Western Conference Quarterfinals(Russia Jr.):
St. Petersburg Jr. 3 @ CSKA Jr. 2
St. Petersburg Jr. Leads the Series 2-1
Nikita Kucherov, CSKA Jr., DNP
Playoff totals (MHL): 2 GP, 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM
Regular Season totals (MHL): 23 GP, 24-19-43, +16, 40 PIM
Regular Season totals (KHL): 18 GP, 1-3-4, -1, 4 PIM

Nikita Kucherov did not dress for CSKA Jr.'s critical Game Three loss to St. Petersburg Jr. Ex-NHLer Nikita Filatov has also not appeared for CSKA Jr. in the last couple of matches. Game Four is Tuesday.

European Game Day: 3-16-12

KHL Eastern Conference Seminfinals (Russia):
Evgeny Kuznetsov's third period goal lifted Chelyabinsk to a 2-1 Game Two win over Ak Bars Kazan. Traktor now holds a 2-0 series lead. Kuznetsov, a first round pick of the Capitals, starred on Russia's Silver Medal winning U20 World Junior Championship team earlier this season. Nikita Nesterov did not appear in the match. Game Three is Sunday.

MHL Western Conference Quarterfinals (Russia Jr.):
CSKA Jr. 3 @ St. Petersburg Jr. 2 (OT)
Series Tied at 1-1
Nikita Kucherov, CSKA Jr., 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Playoff totals (MHL): 2 GP, 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM
Regular Season totals (MHL): 23 GP, 24-19-43, +16, 40 PIM
Regular Season totals (KHL): 18 GP, 1-3-4, -1, 4 PIM

Sergey Barbashev scored 9:46 into overtime to lift CSKA Jr. to a critical 3-2 Game Two win over St. Petersburg Jr. The season is now knotted at 1-1. Game Three is Monday.

SM-slutspel (Sweden)
(1)Lulea 1 @ (7)AIK 4
AIK Leads the Series 3-1
Johan Harju, Lulea, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Playoff totals: 4 GP, 1-1-2, -2, 0 PIM
Regular eason totals: 53 GP, 15-10-25, +12, 16 PIM

The upset alert is now blaring. Ex-NHLer Dick Tarnstrom assisted on AIK's game opening goal and they did not look back, posting a 4-1 Game Four victory over top seed Lulea. Lulea now faces elimination in Game Five on Sunday.

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