Nesterov, Nikita

U20 World Junior Championships: Day Three

Preliminary Round
Canada 5 @ Czech Republic 0
Brett Connolly, Canada, 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 2 GP, 2-0-2, +1, 2 PIM

Brett Connolly scored the nail-in-coffin third goal for Canada late in the second period in their 5-0 win over Czech Republic. The goal showed some absolutely lethal stickhandling moves by Connolly, beating multiple defenders and the netminder on a joy ride through a crowded slot area. It was a man against boys moment. The forward also took a minor for interference in the match. Jets first rounder Mark Scheifele had a pair of goals in the win for the Canadians. Canada draws Denmark on Thursday. Lord have mercy on the Danes souls, because the Czechs made the Canadians work for it today, and they're bound to be grumpy.

Russia 3 @ Slovakia 1
Nikita Kucherov, Russia, 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Tournament totals: 2 GP, 1-1-2, +2, 0 PIM

Nikita Nesterov, Russia, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament totals: 2 GP, 0-1-1, +3, 2 PIM

Adam Janosik, Slovakia, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM

It took a Nikita Kucherov insurance marker late in the third period for the Russians to finally put away a spunky Slovakian squad 3-1. Fellow Lightning prospect Nikita Nesterov had a secondary assist on the goal. Kucherov was second on Team Russia with 5 shots behind Yevgeni Kuznetsov's impressive 9 bids on net. Russia draws Latvia on Thursday. The same grumpiness likely will apply to Team Russia. Slovakia gets Sweden on Friday.

U20 World Junior Championships: Day One

Preliminary Round
Finland 1 @ Canada 8
Brett Connolly, Canada, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 1 GP, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM

Senators prospect Mark Stone had a hat trick and Panthers prospect Jonathan Huberdeau had 1 goal and 5 points in Canada's 8-1 slaughter of Finland. Lightning prospect Brett Connolly also had a goal in the contest, and was named an assistant captain for the Canadians. Canada draws Czech Republic next on Wednesday.

Switzerland 0 @ Russia 3
Nikita Kucherov, Russia, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Tournament totals: 1 GP, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM

Nikita Nesterov, Russia, 0-0-0, +2, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Tournament totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM

Russian netminder Andrei Vasilevski weathered 40 shots for the shootout victory in Russia's 3-0 win over Switzerland. Lightning prospect Nikita Kucherov assisted on the Russian's final goal, an insurance marker by Mikhail Grigorienko late in the second period. For his part, fellow Lightning prospect Nikita Nesterov (pictured) continued the theme of his season going +2. No one collects pluses quite like Nikita Nesterov. He also took a minor for interference early in the third period. Russia faces Slovakia next on Wednesday.

World Juniors Game Night: 12-22-11

Pre-tournament

Canada 7 vs. Switzerland 1

RW Brett Connolly, CAN: 0-0-0, 0 PIM

Canada earned their second pre-tournament win in two games before the upcoming U20 World Junior Championships in Alberta. Connolly did not register a point, but as one of the team’s alternate captains was entrusted with penalty kill duty – a sign of respect from legendary junior coach Don Hay.

Russia 5 vs. Czech Republic 3

RW Nikita Kucherov, RUS: 0-2-2
C Vladislav Namestnikov, RUS: 0-0-0
D Nikita Nesterov, RUS: 0-0-0

These totals are very unofficial as no score was listed on the tournament’s official site and the boxscore was posted on a message board. If it helps, one of the comments from someone at the game said Kucherov looked good. Let’s just assume it’s true. Namestnikov and Nesterov weren’t on the scoresheet, so they could have been scoreless or they may not have played. In fact, respected Russian reporter Dmitry Chesnokov is reporting Namestnikov was cut from the team. Nesterov and Kucherov made the team. (Photo of Kucherov's celebration is from the USA game earlier this week)

Slovakia 0 vs. Finland 3

D Adam Janosik, SVK: 0-0-0, 0 PIM

Finland topped Slovakia in pre-tournament action Wednesday.

World Juniors Game Night: 12-20-11

Russia 6 vs. USA 3 (Pre-tournament match)

RW Nikita Kucherov, RUS: 2-0-2, 0 PIM
C Vladislav Namestnikov, RUS: 0-0-0, 2 PIM
D Nikita Nesterov, RUS: Did not play

Russia beat the U.S. 6-3 in Red Deer, Alberta, Tuesday night in pre-World Junior Championship exhibition play. The stats listed above are unofficial and based off comments from reporters at the game. Kucherov’s first goal was on the power play and his second was scored into an empty net. Russia still has to cut six players, but all Lightning prospects should be safe. The “real” games start the day after Christmas. (Pictured: Kucherov scoring on Stars first rounder Jack Campbell)

Lightning Prospect WJC Preview

Five Tampa Bay Lightning prospects will proudly don their home country’s sweater this holiday season to compete in the Under-20 World Junior Championships. The WJCs are arguably the most exciting international hockey tournament outside of the Olympics and playing for one’s country during this event is a career builder.

Last year Carter Ashton, Brett Connolly, and Canada came up short in the finals, allowing five third period goals to Russia in the gold medal game to lose, 5-3. Host team USA beat Sweden for the bronze in Buffalo, New York.

The last Lightning prospect to win a gold medal was Dustin Tokarski for Canada in 2009 when “The Tik” was player of the game in the championship game – a win over Victor Hedman and Sweden. Dana Tyrell was also a part of that Canadian team, but was injured in pre-tournament action and missed the tournament.

Here’s a look at each Lightning prospect participating in this year’s event, to be held December 26 through January 5 in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. Check NHL Network listings for broadcasts.

SM-liiga Game Day: 12-7-11

SM-liiga (Finland):
JYP 0 @ Pelicans 1 (SO)
Riku Helenius, JYP, DNP
Season totals: 14 GP, 8-6-0, 6 SO, 1.51 GAA, .931 sv%

Riku Helenius sat backup to Joni Myllykoski as Myllykoski posted his first shutout of the season (Helenius has 6) only to fall to defeat in the shootout. JYP outshot Lahti 33-24 in the match, but no cigar. JYP draws Blues Espoo on Friday.

Elsewhere, Nikita Kucherov and Nikita Nesterov have been named to Russia's 2012 U20 World Junior Championships preliminary roster, and began participation in Russia's pre-tournament camp which will run from 12/7 to 12/18 in Novogorsk.

KHL Game Day: 12-6-11

KHL (Russia):
Chelyabinsk 2 @ Ekaterinburg 1 (OT)
Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals (KHL): 7 GP, 0-0-0, +9, 4 PIM
Season totals (MHL): 23 GP, 6-9-15, +12, 20 PIM

Nikita Nesterov was scoreless in 9:50 in Chelyabnisk's 2-1 overtime win over Ekaterinburg. Ex-Leafs draft pick Vladimir Antipov had the overtime winner. The two teams rematch on Friday.

Dynamo Moscow 2 @ Cherepovets 1
Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, DNP
Season totals: 20 GP, 9-8-0, 1 SO, 2.76 GAA, .914 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin did not dress in Cherepovets' 2-1 loss to Dynamo Moscow. Ex-Lightning prospect Marek Kvapil had the winner for Dynamo, his 6th of the season. Cherepovets draws Novgorod on Thursday.

Word on the street: the latest rumor is that Nikita Kucherov may have been nicked in the Subway Super Series and that the Russian Hockey Federation may be holding him out of play to keep him healthy for the U20 World Junior Championships. Grain of salt.

KHL Game Day: 11-30-11

KHL (Russia):
Cherepovets 1 @ Chelyabinsk 4
Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk, 0-0-0, +3, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals (KHL): 5 GP, 0-0-0, +9, 4 PIM
Season totals (MHL): 23 GP, 6-9-15, +12, 20 PIM

Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, Loss, 22/25, 3.10 GAA, .880 sv%
Season totals: 19 GP, 9-8-0, 1 SO, 2.76 GAA, .914 sv%

Give it another month, and Nikita Nesterov might lead the whole league in +/-. The young blueliner was +3 with a minor for interference in Chelyabinsk's 4-1 smackdown of Vasily Koshechkin and Cherepovets. The blueliner's +9 KHL mark is quickly catching up to his solid +12 mark so far this year in junior play in the MHL. Cherepovets draws Dynamo Minsk on Sunday. Chelyabinsk gets Ekaterinburg on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Nikita Kucherov did not appear for CSKA in their 3-2 shootout loss to Novgorod. However, his junior linemate Nikita Gusev was called up for the game. No word yet on a potential injury/illness.

KHL Game Day: 11-28-11

KHL (Russia):
Cherepovets 7 @ Astana 1
Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, Win, 33/34, 1.00 GAA, .971 sv%
Season totals: 18 GP, 9-7-0, 1 SO, 2.75 GAA, .916 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin got off the pine and bathed in sweet, sweet goal support in Cherepovets' 7-1 bulldozing of Astana. Ex-Bruins prospect Mikko Lehtonen had a pair of goals in the victory. Cherepovets draws Chelyabinsk on Wednesday.

Spartak Moscow 1 @ Chelyabinsk 7
Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk, 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals (KHL): 4 GP, 0-0-0, +6, 2 PIM
Season totals (MHL): 23 GP, 6-9-15, +12, 20 PIM

Nikita Nesterov played a season high 15:48 as Chelyabinsk crushed Spartak Moscow 7-1. Ex-NHLers Stan Chistov and Deron Quint each had helpers in the win. Chelyabinsk squares off with Cherepovets on Wednesday.

KHL Game Day: 11-26-11

KHL (Russia):
Chekhov 1 @ Chelyabinsk 5
Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk, 0-0-0, +4, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals (KHL): 3 GP, 0-0-0, +4, 2 PIM
Season totals (MHL): 23 GP, 6-9-15, +12, 20 PIM

Nikita Nesterov was +4 in 12:19 of ice time in Chelyabinsk's 5-1 thumping of Chekhov. Ex-NHLer Stan Chistov had a helper in the victory for Chelyabinsk. They face Spartak Moscow on Monday.

Cherepovets 2 @ Ekaterinburg 3 (SO)
Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, DNP
Season totals: 17 GP, 8-7-0, 1 SO, 2.86 GAA, .912 sv%

Vadim Tarasov again got the start for Cherepovets in their 3-2 shootout loss to Ekaterinburg. Cherepovets draws Astana on Monday.

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