Kucherov, Nikita

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: 3-12-12

KHL Eastern Conference Semifinals (Russia):
The field is now set in the Eastern Conference of the KHL. Top seed Chelyabinsk will face Ak Bars Kazan beginning on Wednesday with Game One of the series. With his MHL club finished for the season, expect Chelyabinsk's Nikita Nesterov to be a spot player for the KHL side the rest of the postseason.

MHL Playoffs (Russia Jr.):
CSKA Jr. will start their MHL title defense on Thursday against St. Petersburg Jr. CSKA Jr. finished 2nd in the MHL Central Division while Sr. Petersburg Jr. finished 3rd in the MHL Northwest Division. We'll see if sniper Nikita Kucherov appears after missing much of the last month of hockey.

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

AIK rode 3 second period goals to a 4-2 Game Two victory over top seed Lulea. Game Three is set for Wednesday.

European Game Day: 3-10-12

SM-liiga (Finland):
JYP 3 @ KalPa 0
Riku Helenius, JYP, Win, SO, 18/18, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Season totals: 32 GP, 20-9-1, 7 SO, 1.62 GAA, .936 sv%

Riku Helenius and JYP dominated the league's top team, KalPa, 3-0, to move themselves within an eyelash of clinching a first round playoff bye. Helenius posted his 7th shutout of the season and was named third star of the game. He is now second in the league in save percentage, first in GAA, and first in shutouts. His shutout mark is particularly impressive given he was in a tandem starter situation for much of the first half of the season. With 2 games remaining in the regular season, JYP's magic number is 1 point: 1 point gained or 1 point lost by 7th place Karpat, to clinch the opening round bye. They face Jokerit next on Tuesday.

KHL Playoff (Russia):
It's been all chalk so far in the KHL playoffs as all higher seeds have won in the Quarterfinal round, thus far. Novgorod knocked off Dynamo Riga 2-0 today in Game Seven to finalize the combatants in the Semis in the West. In the East, Magnitogorsk and Astana go in Game Seven tomorrow, after which we'll know who top seed Chelyabinsk will face in the Semis.

MHL (Russia Jr.):
Chelyabinsk Jr. 1 @ Novokuznetsk Jr. 5
Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk Jr., 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 5 SOG
Regular Season totals (MHL): 41 GP, 11-20-31, +11, 66 PIM
Regular season totals (KHL): 10 GP, 0-0-0, +8, 4 PIM
Playoff totals (KHL): 2 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM

While the big club awaits for a Semifinal opponent, Nikita Nesterov was back with the junior team today in its 5-1 loss to Novokuznetsk Jr. He took a minor for slashing in the contest. The game was Chelyabinsk Jr.'s final contest of the regular season. The team did not qualify for the playoffs out of the Ural-Siberia Division, finishing 6th of 8 teams. Expect Nesterov to be a Black Ace and spot starter for the KHL side for the remainder of their playoff run.

KHK MVD Jr. 4 @ CSKA Jr. 5 (OT)
Nikita Kucherov, CSKA Jr., DNP
Regular Season totals (MHL): 23 GP, 24-19-43, +16, 40 PIM
Regular Season totals (KHL): 18 GP, 1-3-4, -1, 4 PIM

In the "just not fair" department, CSKA, which was eliminated from the KHL postseason, sent former Blue Jackets first rounder Nikita Filatov down to the MHL today. All he did was post 1-2-3 to lead CSKA Jr. to a 5-4 OT win over KHK MVD Jr. Nikita Kucherov did not appear in the match. CSKA Jr. has qualified for the postseason, finishing 2nd in the Central Division, and will have the opportunity to defend their MHL title in the playoffs. One would think if they're allowed to play Filatov, they might have a really good chance to do just that.

SM-slutspel Quarterfinals (Sweden)
(7) AIK 3 @ (1) Lulea 6
Johan Harju, Lulea, 1-1-2, +1, 0 PIM, 6 SOG
Playoff totals: 1 GP, 1-1-2, +1, 0 PIM
Regular eason totals: 53 GP, 15-10-25, +12, 16 PIM

Johan Harju had a power play goal and even strength assist in Lulea's 6-3 Game One thumping of AIK. Game Two is Monday.

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