European Leagues

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-16-10

KHL Gagarin Cup Finals
(2)KHK MVD 1 @ (3)Kazan 4
Kazan Leads the Series 2-0
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +8, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 17 GP, 3-1-4, +2, 10 PIM

Kazan is now just two victories away from winning the KHL championship after a 4-1 Game Two victory over Western Conference champion KHK MVD. Kazan was once again led by unlikely hero Dmitri Obukhov, who had a pair of goals including an empty netter. Obukhov, who scored just 5 goals during the regular season, has 3 goals now in the first two games of the Gagarin Cup Finals. Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov played 14:26 in the match for Kazan. Game Three is on Monday.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-15-10

KHL Gagarin Cup Finals
(2)KHK MVD 2 @ (3)Kazan 3
Kazan Leads the Series 1-0
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-8-27, +8, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 16 GP, 3-1-4, +2, 8 PIM

Unlikely hero Dmitri Obukhov scored a goal 4:05 into the third period to break a 2-2 tie and send Kazan on to a 3-2 Game One victory over KHK MVD. Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov played 16:58 in the match. Game Two is slated for tomorrow.

European Game Day: 4-11-10

Kval till Elitserien (Sweden)
Rogle 3 @ Sodertalje 2 (SO)
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, DNP
Season totals: 9 GP, 4-2-2, 0 SO, 2.42 GAA, .923 sv%
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 6-3-0, 1 SO, 2.74 GAA, .911 sv%

With Sodertalje's spot in the Elitserien sewed up for next season, Riku Helenius got today off in the 10th and final match of the promotion/relegation series. Helenius' backup, Pontus Sjogren, stopped 42 shots before allowed 3 of 6 shooters to capitalize in the shootout for the loss. Helenius' roller coaster season is over, and he and the Lightning will now contemplate a way forward for the former first round draft pick who played very well at times, and very poorly at other junctures.

Sodertalje finished first in the Kval till Elitserien with 21 points, 3 ahead of Allsvenskan side AIK, which defeated Vaxjo Lakers 2-0 today to grab a promotion into the Elitserien for next season. It's a remarkable accomplishment for a team that just a few months ago was contemplating a move into the KHL. They finished 2 points ahead of Rogle, which will be relegated to the Allsvenskan next season.

KHL (Russia) Western Conference Finals
No Lightning prospects were involved, but in Game Seven KHK MVD defeated Yaroslavl 2-1. Ex-Thrashers prospect Michael Garnett stopped 25 of 26 shots he faced in the win. He'll face Ak Bars Kazan and Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov in the KHL Gagarin Cup Finals, which begin on Thursday in Kazan.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-10-10

KHL Eastern Conference Finals
(3)Kazan 2 @ (1)Yulaev 1
Kazan Wins the Series 4-2
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +8, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 15 GP, 3-1-4, +2, 8 PIM

Ex-Thrashers draft pick Ilya Nikulin scored a power play goal with 4:53 left in regulation to lift Kazan to a 2-1 Game Six, series clinching win at Yulaev. Kazan wins the series 4-2 and will face the winner of Game Seven between KHK MVD and Yaroslavl tomorrow in the Western Conference Finals. Lighntning prospect Dmitri Kazionov played 18:47 in the match.

European Game Day: 4-8-10

KHL (Russia) Eastern Conference Finals
(1)Yulaev 2 @ (3)Kazan 1
Kazan Leads the Series 3-2
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +8, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 14 GP, 3-1-4, +3, 8 PIM

Things are getting interesting in the KHL Eastern Conference Finals. After sprinting out to a 3-0 series lead, Kazan has allowed top seeded Yulaev back into the series with 2 straight wins. Today, Yulaev got 1 goal and 1 assist in the third period from ex-Predator Alexander Radulov in a come-from-behind Game Five victory. Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov played 20:40 in the match and has been playing on Kazan's top line for much of the playoffs.

In the Western Conference Finals, Yaroslavl leads KHK MVD 3 games to 2. Kazan will try to finish off the Eastern Conference Finals again on Saturday.

Kval till Elitserien (Sweden)
Sodertalje 1 @ AIK 2 (OT)
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, Loss, 35/37, 1.99 GAA, .946 sv%
Season totals: 9 GP, 4-2-2, 0 SO, 2.42 GAA, .923 sv%
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 6-3-0, 1 SO, 2.74 GAA, .911 sv%

AIK forward Richard Gynge scored a game winning power play goal for AIK just 17 seconds in overtime to defeat Riku Helenius and Sodertalje. For Helenius, it was his 3rd defeat in his past 4 starts after beginning the promotion/relegation tournament with 5 straight victories. Sodertalje's offense has been hamstrung without ex-Avs draft pick Linus Videll, who has not played in Sodertalje's past three games.

Despite the loss, Sodertalje has secured its spot in the Elitserien for next season with AIK earning just 1 point in the standings for the victory and Leksands and Rogle also losing. The more intriguing situation is occuring in the battle for 2nd place on the Kval till Elitserien table, which will yield the final Elitserien spot for next season. AIK holds 1 point lead now over Rogle and a 2 point lead over Leksands and Almtuna with just 1 game left to go and each regulation victory in Sweden being worth 3 points. As an interesting subplot, AIK, which has been on the brink of financial ruin the past few seasons despite being based in the population center of Stockholm, signed a letter-of-intent earlier this season to join the KHL next year but was denied the right to join the Russian league by the Swedish ice hockey federation. Now the team, which has been toiling in the Allsvenskan for the past few seasons, controls its own destiny and is one game away from joining Sweden's top league.

The Kval till Elitserien closes on Sunday with Sodertalje playing Rogle, AIK playing Vaxjo, and Leksands squaring off with Almtuna.

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