Nesterov, Nikita

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.

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