CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-23-10

QMJHL

Atlantic-2 Moncton Wildcats 3 @ Atlantic-3 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 2 (OT)
First Round, Game 3. Moncton leads Best of 7 Series 3-0
D Mark Barberio, MCT: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff Totals: 3 GP, 1-3-4, +2, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 17-43-60, +39, 72 PIM

Moncton defenseman David Savard (Blue Jackets 4/09) scored at 14:53 of the first overtime to give the Wildcats a road win and a commanding 3-0 series lead over Cape Breton. Barberio set up Nicolas Deschamps (Ducks 2/08) early in the second period to give Moncton a 2-0 lead they’d relinquish late in the third period.

WHL

West-2 Vancouver Giants 5 @ West-7 Kamloops Blazers 4 (OT)
Conference Quarterfinals, Game 3. Vancouver leads Best of 7 Series 3-0
C/W/D James Wright, VAN: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, *Third Star*
Playoff Totals: 3 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 21 GP, 6-13-19, -3, 17 PIM
With Tampa Bay: 43 GP, 2-3-5, -9, 18 PIM

Vancouver took a huge step toward securing their first round series with Kamloops when Brett Breitkreuz (undrafted), acquired earlier in the year from Edmonton, scored at 2:28 of overtime to give the Giants a road win and 3-0 series lead. Wright is still looking for his first point of the playoffs, but was named the Game’s No.3 star – on the road, no less.

NHL Game Night: 3-23-10 Hurricanes at Lightning

The Lightning deal a blow to their chances of landing Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin.

CAR-2
TB-3 (OT)

Antero Niittymaki allowed 2 goals on 29 shots for the victory. Darn your unswerving professionalism Niitty!

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
TB 4:12, St. Louis 25 (Purcell, Lecavalier)
CAR 18:59, Cole 9 (Samsonov, Pothier)
CAR 19:17, LaRose 7 (Pitkanen, Whitney)

Third Period
TB 13:03, Downie 20 (Stamkos, Foster)(PP)

Overtime
TB 0:29, St. Louis 26 (Meszaros, Lundin)

All kidding aside, congratulations to Steve Downie on scoring his 20th goal of the season. Apparently that makes Downie the NHL's first 20 goal/200 PIM player since Theo Fleury did it with the Rangers in 2001-2002. He's a rare and special player, and he's going to get better, which should scare the rest of the league half to death.

Martin St. Louis is 4 goals shy of 30. He's played so well all season. I'd love to see him get there.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

European Game Day: 3-23-10

KHL (Russa) Playoffs
Eastern Conference Semifinals
(3)Kazan 0 @ (2)Magnitogorsk 1 (OT)
Kazan Leads the Series 2-1
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Win, 37/37, SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Season totals: 49 GP, 25-16-8, 8 SO, 1.96 GAA, .927 sv%
Playoff totals: 6 GP, 4-2, 1 SO, 1.76 GAA, .940 sv%

Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +7, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 6 GP, 1-1-2, +4, 4 PIM

Wow. Facing the prospect of falling into a 3-0 hole in the series, Vasily Koshechkin pitched a 37 save shutout to help Magnitogorsk pull off a 1-0 overtime victory in Game Three. Petri Kontiola scored off a Stan Chistov assist with just 5 seconds remaining in the first overtime session to seal the deal. Dmitri Kazionov played a scoreless 24:50 in the match for Kazan. Can we please get some of what was in Koshechkin's water bottle for Tokarski for the two big games the Admirals have coming up against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this week?

Game Four tomorrow.

(8)Dynamo Riga 4 @ (2)KHK MVD 5 (OT)
KHK MVD Leads the Series 3-1
Martins Karsums, Dynamo Riga, 1-0-1, E, 2 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 12 GP, 4-4-8, +6, 16 PIM
Playoff totals: 8 GP, 2-1-3, -1, 4 PIM

Ex-NHLer and KHL goal scoring champion Marcel Hossa scored a tying goal with less than 1 minute remaining in regulation, but Evgeni Fedorov scored a goal 2:33 into the second overtime to help KHK MVD win 5-4. The win puts Cindarella Riga on the brink of elimination. Lightning prospect Martins Karsums scored a goal early in the 2nd period and took a second period elbowing minor in 23:42 of ice time.

Kval till Elitserien (Sweden)
AIK 3 @ Sodertalje 4
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, Win, 24/27, 3.00 GAA, .889 sv%
Season totals: 9 GP, 4-2-2, 0 SO, 2.42 GAA, .923 sv%
Playoff totals: 2 GP, 2-0-0, 1 SO, 1.50 GAA, .946 sv%

So far, so good for Sodertalje in the Swedish relegation/promotion series. The club got 1 goal and 1 assist from ex-Kings prospect Yanick Lehoux and 2 assists from ex-Avs draft pick Linus Videll in today's match to defeat Allsvenskan team AIK. Next up for Sodertalje: Leksands, which was briefly promoted to the Elitserien for the 2005-2006 season, but has been relegated to the Allsvenskan ever since. That match will take place Thursday.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 3-22-10

KHL Western Conference Semifinals
(8)Dynamo Riga 3 @ (2)KHK MVD 1
KHK MVD Leads the Series 2-1
Martins Karsums, Dynamo Riga, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 12 GP, 4-4-8, +6, 16 PIM
Playoff totals: 7 GP, 1-1-2, -1, 2 PIM

Riga has decided to make it a series with a 3-1 Game Three win on the road. Former Lightning forward Robert Petrovicky had a pair of assists in the match for Riga. Lightning prospect Martins Karsums played 14:20 in the match.

Elsewhere today, Spartak Moscow defeated Yaroslavl 3-2 to take a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference Semifinal series. Tomorrow, all four series will be in action, with Magnitogorsk fighting to avoid falling into a 3-0 series hole against Kazan.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-21-10

OHL

East-8 Sudbury Wolves 2 @ East-1 Barrie Colts 6
Conference Quarterfinals, Game 3. Barrie leads Best of 7 Series 3-0
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 0-1-1, -1, 4 PIM (delay of game, delay of game)
Playoff Totals: 3 GP, 1-4-5, +3, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 68 GP, 47-34-81, +44, 58 PIM
W Matias Sointu, SBY: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Playoff Totals: 3 GP, 0-3-3, E, 0 PIM [/i]
Season Totals (OTT, SBY): 51 GP, 8-21-29, -3, 24 PIM

Hutchings extended his point streak to seven games. He took two delay of game penalties in the game's first five minutes. Barrie can close out the series Wednesday in Sudbury.

NHL Game Day: 3-21-10 Lightning at Panthers

Done.

TB-2
FLA-5

Mike Smith allowed 5 goals on 40 shots for the loss.

First Period
TB 6:04, Downie 19 (unassisted)
FLA 14:12, Horton 18 (Stillman, Weiss)(PP)
FLA 17:42, Booth 6 (Bitz, Ballard)
FLA 18:28, Stillman 15 (Horton)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
TB 2:09, Stamkos 43 (Lecavalier, St. Louis)(PP)
FLA 4:03, Weiss 25 (Allen, Ballard)
FLA 15:34, Dvorak 12 (Garrison)

I'm mildly pleased that Steve Downie scored his 19th goal and is now one shy of the 20 goal plateau. Other than that, there's not a lot of positives to take away from this game.

I see Mark Parrish was out of this lineup for this game. I hope the Lightning will send him down to Norfolk to help their playoff drive. I also see Matt Smaby was held out of a second straight game with David Hale returning. I don't know the rules governing conditioning stints after Clear Day, but I'd sure love to see Smabes get one Wednesday and Friday.

In case you're wondering about draft position, the Lightning now have the 3rd worst record in the league. They won't "catch" the worst, Edmonton, but if trends hold up the Leafs will probably make up the 4 points necessary to put the Lightning back into second-to-last again for a second straight season. This is considered a two-superstar draft (Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin) so perhaps if the Lightning continue to slide there's a silver lining (presuming ping pong balls bounce favorably for a third straight year).

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

European Game Day: 3-21-10

KHL (Russa) Eastern Conference Semifinals
Magnitogorsk 2 @ Kazan 3
Kazan Leads the Series 2-0
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 1-0-1, E, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +7, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 1-1-2, +4, 4 PIM

Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, DNP
Season totals: 49 GP, 25-16-8, 8 SO, 1.96 GAA, .927 sv%
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 3-2, 0 SO, 2.24 GAA, .925 sv%

Magnitogorsk switched to backup Ilya Proskuryakov for Game Two of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series, but the results were the same as Metallurg now finds themselves in a 2-0 series hole. Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov opened the scoring for Kazan in the 2nd period and took a hooking minor in 14:45 of ice time. But, it wasn't until less than 2 minutes left in the game when former Penguin Alexei Morozov notched the game winning goal that the outcome was finally decided. The scene now switches to Magnitogorsk for Game Three of the seven game series.

Tomorrow features Game Three between Riga and KHK MVD with Riga down 2-0 in the series. Elsewhere today, Nizhnekamsk evened up their Eastern Conference Semifinal series 1-1 with Yulaev with a 2-1 overtime win.

Kval till Elitserien (Sweden)
Sodertalje 2 @ Rogle 0
Riku Helenius, Win, 28/28, 1 SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Season totals: 9 GP, 4-2-2, 2.42 GAA, .923 sv%
Kval till Elitserien totals: 1 GP, 1-0-0, 1 SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%

Not a bad start to Sweden's relegation/promotion series for Riku Helenius as he blanked the only other Elitserien level opponent in the series, Rogle, 2-0. Sodertalje won despite being outshot 28-19 in the contest. The club got goals from former Kings prospect Yanick Lehoux and ex-Avs draft pick Linus Videll. On Tuesday, Sodertalje faces Allsvenskan team AIK.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-20-10

QMJHL

Atlantic-3 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 0 @ Atlantic-2 Moncton Wildcats 6
First Round, Game 2. Moncton leads Best of 7 Series 2-0
D Mark Barberio, MCT: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 1-2-3, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 17-43-60, +39, 72 PIM

Barberio’s power play goal in the third period gave the Wildcats a 5-0 lead. It was his first career playoff goal. Game 3 is Tuesday in Sydney.

OHL

East-1 Barrie Colts 2 @ East-8 Sudbury Wolves 1
Conference Quarterfinals, Game 2. Barrie leads Best of 7 Series 2-0
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 0-1-1, E, 4 PIM (slashing, slashing)
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 1-3-4, +4, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 68 GP, 47-34-81, +44, 58 PIM
W Matias Sointu, SBY: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 0-3-3, E, 0 PIM [/i]
Season Totals (OTT, SBY): 51 GP, 8-21-29, -3, 24 PIM

Barrie’s Bryan Cameron (Kings 3/07) scored the tie-breaking goal early in the third period and the Colts held on for the win. Game 3 is Sunday in Barrie. Going back to the regular season, Hutchings has points in six consecutive games.

WHL

West-7 Kamloops Blazers 3 @ West-2 Vancouver Giants 6
Conference Quarterfinals, Game 2. Vancouver leads Best of 7 Series 2-0
C/W/D James Wright, VAN: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 21 GP, 6-13-19, -3, 17 PIM
With Tampa Bay: 43 GP, 2-3-5, -9, 18 PIM

This was a convincing win for Vancouver, led by Craig Cunningham's (undrafted) two goals and three assists. The 5-9 forward had 97 points during the season and has seven already in two playoff games. Game 3 is Tuesday in Kamloops.

In other WHL news, East No.8 seed Moose Jaw has taken both early games from No.1 Calgary in Calgary.

Six Teams for Five Spots

We're seeing a narrowing and tightening in the field of teams vying to make the postseason in the AHL's Eastern Conference. Three teams look pretty much guaranteed to be in: Hershey (109 pts, 1st in East), Worcester (89 points, 1st in Atlantic), and Portland (86 points, 2nd in Atlantic).

Albany (84 points, 2nd in East) is probably a very good bet to hang onto a playoff spot, but they're not a lock to remain in 2nd place in the East. The Admirals, for instance, are 6 points back of Albany with 1 game in hand and 1 game head-to-head remaining on the schedule. So, things could tighten up even more very quickly, especially if the Rats keep stubbing their toes against teams like Binghamton.

They're the first of six teams, including the Admirals, fighting for five playoff spots. Typically, they'd be treated separately by division, but with the crossover rule potentially vaulting a 5th place Atlantic team over a 4th place East team, we should treat them as lumped together. The other five teams are: Manchester (79 points, 3rd in Atlantic), Lowell (79 points, 3rd in Atlantic), Norfolk (78 points, 3rd in East), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (77 points, 4th in East), Bridgeport (75 points, 5th in Atlantic).

Here's what's left for the six teams:

NHL Game Night: 3-20-10 Capitals at Lightning

Give them credit for fighting hard.

WSH-3
TB-1

Antero Niittymaki allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the loss.

First Period
WSH 2:40, Fleischmann 21 (Fehr, Steckel)
TB 6:54, Lecavalier 22 (Purcell, Bochenski)
WSH 10:47, Ovechkin 45 (Backstrom)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
WSH 7:20, Semin 33 (Laich, Morrison)

I'm heartened by how well Vincent Lecavalier is playing down the stretch for the Lightning. It portends good things for next season, because if Vinny's scoring at a 40 goal clip, and Stamkos is too, then the Lightning are un-defendable, if that's a word. Ted Purcell looks like a keeper, too, with 6 points in his first 8 games with the Lightning.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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