European Leagues

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.

European Game Day: 3-15-12

SM-liiga (Finland):
JYP 4 @ Karpat 1
Riku Helenius, JYP, DNP
Season totals: 33 GP, 21-9-1, 7 SO, 1.64 GAA, .936 sv%

With nothing on the line, JYP started backup Joni Myllykoski in their regular season ending 4-1 win over Karpat. JYP finishes the regular season 4th on the SM-liiga table. Karpat, which would've finished in the top-6 of the league with a win, instead finishes 7th and will now have to play in the opening play-in round. JYP already knows who their Semifinal Round opponent will be: 5th seed Assat. The Semifinals will begin next Thursday, the 22nd.

MHL Western Conference Quarterfinals (Russia Jr.)
CSKA Jr. 2 @ St. Petersburg Jr. 5
St. Petersburg Jr. Leads the Series 1-0
Nikita Kucherov, CSKA Jr., 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff totals (MHL): 1 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 assisted on Nikita Gusev's game opening power play goal, but it was all downhill from there for CSKA Jr. in their Game One loss to St. Petersburg Jr. Ex-Blue Jackets first rounder Nikita Filatov scored CSKA Jr.'s other goal. Game Two is Friday.

European Game Day: 3-14-12

KHL Eastern Conference Semifinals (Russia):
Chelyabinsk took a 1-0 series lead over Kazan with a 3-1 Game One victory. Ex-NHLer Stan Chistov scored the winner for Traktor. Nikita Nesterov did not dress for the match. Game Two is Friday.

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

Uh oh. AIK raced out to a 3-0 lead today in Game Three and held on late to defeat top seed Lulea 3-2. The upset-minded club got a goal from ex-Hurricanes and Red Wings draft pick Kent McDonell in the match. Game Four is set for Friday.

SM-liiga Game Day: 3-13-12

SM-liiga (Finland):
Jokerit @ @ JYP 3 (OT)
Riku Helenius, JYP, Win, 30/32, 1.98 GAA, .938 sv%
Season totals: 33 GP, 21-9-1, 7 SO, 1.64 GAA, .936 sv%

Sami Vatanen's goal at 0:45 of overtime propelled JYP to a 3-2 win over Jokerit and clinched a first round bye in the postseason for his club. Lightning prospect Riku Helenius stopped 30 shots in the game and was named the second star. JYP's final game of the regular season will come against a hungry Karpat club on Thursday. Karpat is tied with Jokerit at 99 points for the 6th spot on the SM-liiga table, which is the last spot in the standings that will receive a first round bye. JYP will finish no worse than 5th.

Will Riku Helenius, second in the league in save percentage and first in GAA and shutouts, win the coveted Urpo Ylonen Trophy as the league's best netminder? Past winners of the award have included Niklas Backstrom, Karri Lehtonen, Pasi Nurminen, Miikka Kiprusoff, and Tim Thomas, all of whom went on to become starting goaltenders in the NHL. Can Bolt Prospects simultaneously sustain a campaign to win the Urpo Ylonen for Helenius and AHL Coach of the Year for Jon Cooper?

Give Rik the Urpo!

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