European Leagues

European Game Day: 2-16-12

MHL (Russia Jr.):
Omsk Jr. 5 @ CSKA Jr. 2
Nikita Kucherov, CSKA Jr., 1-1-2, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals (KHL): 21 GP, 21-18-39, +11, 40 PIM
Season totals (KHL): 18 GP, 1-3-4, -1, 4 PIM

Nikita Kucherov had a power play goal and an even strength helper in CSKA Jr.'s 5-2 loss to Omsk Jr. They'll play Novosibirsk Jr. on Saturday.

Chelyabinsk Jr. 2 @ KHK MVD Jr. 3 (SO)
Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk Jr., 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals (MHL): 37 GP, 10-20-30, +14, 62 PIM
Season totals (KHL): 7 GP, 0-0-0, +9, 4 PIM

Nikita Nesterov was not suspended after being thrown out late in his last game, and was +2 in Chelyabinsk Jr.'s 3-2 shootout loss to KHK MVD Jr. They will square off with Stupino next on Saturday.

Elitserien (Sweden):
MODO 4 @ Lulea 1
Johan Harju, Lulea, DNP
Season totals: 46 GP, 13-6-19, +3, 16 PIM

Ex-Lightning forward Mattias Ritola had a pair of assists as MODO smacked Lulea 4-1. Ex-NHLer Niklas Sundstrom also had a goal in the match for MODO. Lulea faces Djurgardens on Saturday.

KHL Game Day: 2-15-12

KHL (Russia):
Mytischi 1 @ Cherepovets 0 (SO)
Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, SOL, 29/29, SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Season totals: 30 GP, 15-9-1, 6 SO, 2.32 GAA, .926 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin suffered the rare case of losing a game despite posting a shutout in Cherepovets' 1-0 shootout loss to Mytischi. The netminder stopped 4 of 6 chances in the shootout, but could not hold Alexei Kovalev and Dmitri Upper out in the defeat. Koshechkin did finally manage to catch fellow Lightning prospect Riku Helenius in shootouts, posting his 6th of the season, but he's still 13 points behind Helenius in save percentage despite a more than respectable .926 save percentage for the season. Cherepovets faces St. Petersburg on Friday.

In Chelyabinsk, neither Nikita Kucherov nor Nikita Nesterov got the call for the matchup between their KHL sides where the polar bears thumped CSKA 5-3.

European Game Day: 2-14-12

SM-liiga (Finland):
TPS 1 @ JYP 4
Riku Helenius, JYP, Win, 16/17, 1.00 GAA, .941 sv%
Season totals: 26 GP, 18-6-0, 6 SO, 1.49 GAA, .939 sv%

On this Valentine's Day, I think we all can find something to love in the continued resurgence of goaltender Riku Helenius, who posted 16 saves en route to JYP's 4-1 win over TPS. Ducks draft pick Sami Vatanen scored 2 goals in the match for JYP. They face Ilves next on Friday.

MHL (Russia Jr.):
Chelyabinsk Jr. 2 @ CSKA Jr. 4
Nikita Kucherov, CSKA Jr. 1-0-1, E, 2 PIM, 5 SOG
Season totals (MHL): 20 GP, 20-17-37, +12, 40 PIM
Season totals (KHL): 18 GP, 1-3-4, -1, 4 PIM

Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk Jr., 0-0-0, -1, 20 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals (MHL): 36 GP, 10-20-30, +12, 52 PIM
Season totals (KHL): 7 GP, 0-0-0, +9, 4 PIM

Nikita Kucherov had a power play goal and a minor penalty in CSKA Jr.'s 4-2 win over Chelyabinsk Jr. Fellow Lightning prospect Nikita Nesterov was -1 and took an unspecified game misconduct at 16:35 of the match. We'll see now if Kucherov returns to CSKA's KHL team and whether Nesterov faces disciplinary action after today's result. CSKA Jr. faces Omsk Jr. next on Thursday while Chelyabinsk Jr. draws KHK MVD Jr. on Thursday, as well.

Today's head-to-head matchup of Lightning prospects comes on the heels of Saturday's MHL All-Star Game where the West defeated the East 4-2. Nikita Nesterov was -2 with a minor for interference for the losing East side. Nikita Kucherov did not suit up for the match, but his teammate Nikita Gusev had a pair of helpers for the victorious Team West.

Elitserien (Sweden):
Lulea 2 @ Brynas 3 (OT)
Johan Harju, Lulea, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 46 GP, 13-6-19, +3, 16 PIM

Ex-Predators draft pick Daniel Widing scored 1:37 into overtime to lift Brynas to a 3-2 win over Lulea. Lulea draws MODO on Thursday.

Bolt Prospects 2011-2012 Midterm Rankings

With the graduation of Brett Connolly from prospect status, it's finally time to release Bolt Prospects' 2011-2012 Midterm Rankings. While difficult for the Lightning at the NHL level, this season has proven to be incredibly exciting for the development of the team's prospects. The Lightning have never boasted such incredible depth in the system, and that depth extends to overage prospects like Trevor Smith, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, and J.T. Wyman, who have made positive contributions to the big club during injury recalls. The team should also be excited about the performance of AHL signees like Philip-Michael Devos and Cory Conacher, the latter of whom is a lock to earn an NHL entry-level contract from the Lightning very soon.

European Game Day: 2-4-12

KHL (Russia):
Cherepovets 2 @ CSKA 1
Nikita Kucherov, CSKA, 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals (KHL): 18 GP, 1-3-4, -1, 4 PIM
Season totals (MHL): 19 GP, 19-17-36, +12, 38 PIM

Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, DNP
Season totals: 29 GP, 15-9-0, 5 SO, 2.42 GAA, .923 sv%

What we thought was going to be a Bolt Prospect vs. Bolt Prospect throwdown turned into Nikita Kucherov being -1 with a minor penalty in a paltry 1:56 of ice time in Cherepovets' 2-1 win over CSKA. Ex-Lightning camper Niklas Persson had a helper on Igor Ozhiganov's power play goal with 3 seconds remaining in the game to break up Vadim Tarasov's shutout bid. Cherepovets and CSKA are now off until 2-15 for the Euro Hockey Tour break. When they return, Severstal gets Mytischi and CSKA gets Chelyabinsk.

Elitserien (Sweden):
Linkopings 3 @ Lulea 2
Johan Harju, Lulea, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 45 GP, 13-6-19, +3, 16 PIM

Simon Hjalmarsson scored a power play goal with 8:28 left in the third period to lift Linkopings to a 3-2 win over Lulea. The wingers was a 2nd round pick of the Blues in 2007. Lulea is now off until 2-14 when they'll play Brynas.

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