Harju, Johan

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: 3-14-12

KHL Eastern Conference Semifinals (Russia):
Chelyabinsk took a 1-0 series lead over Kazan with a 3-1 Game One victory. Ex-NHLer Stan Chistov scored the winner for Traktor. Nikita Nesterov did not dress for the match. Game Two is Friday.

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

Uh oh. AIK raced out to a 3-0 lead today in Game Three and held on late to defeat top seed Lulea 3-2. The upset-minded club got a goal from ex-Hurricanes and Red Wings draft pick Kent McDonell in the match. Game Four is set for 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.

European Game Day: 3-8-12

SM-liiga (Finland):
Lukko 3 @ JYP 4
Riku Helenius, JYP, DNP
Season totals: 31 GP, 19-9-1, 6 SO, 1.68 GAA, .935 sv%

Ex-Lightning forward Eric Perrin's goal with 2:56 left in regulation broke a 3-3 tie and lifted JYP to a key 4-3 win over Lukko. The goal capped a hat trick for Perrin, who was named second star of the game. The victory moved JYP to third on the SM-liiga table, 4 points ahead of 7th place Assat, as the club tries to cling to its first round bye in the playoffs. JYP has three games remaining in the regular season, starting with KalPa on Saturday.

KHL Western Conference Quarterfinals (Russia)
(5) Cherepovets 1 @ (4) Mytischi 2
Mytischi Wins the Series 4-2
Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, Loss, 28/30, 2.05 GAA, .933 sv%
Playoff totals: 6 GP, 2-4-0, 1 SO, 1.32 GAA, .958 sv%
Regular season totals: 33 GP, 16-11-1, 6 SO, 2.37 GAA, .925 sv%

Ex-NHLer Nikolai Zherdev's goal with 5:00 left in regulation capped a 2 goal third period comeback and lifted Mytischi to a 2-1 Game Six win over Cherepovets. Severstal was eliminated from the playoffs in the defeat. Ex-Lightning first rounder Nikita Alexeev had Cherepovets' only goal.

St. Petersburg, Dynamo Moscow, and Mytischi are through to the Semifinals in the West. Novgorod and Riga go on Saturday in a Game Seven matchup to determine who else makes it to the next round.

MHL (Russia Jr.)
KHK MVD Jr. 2 @ CSKA Jr. 4
Nikita Kucherov, CSKA Jr., 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season totals (MHL): 23 GP, 24-19-43, +16, 40 PIM
Season totals (KHL): 18 GP, 1-3-4, -1, 4 PIM

In a rare event, Nikita Kucherov was held off the board in CSKA Jr.'s 4-2 win over KHK MVD Jr. The two teams rematch on Saturday.

SM-Slutspel (Sweden):
Lulea's opening round series with AIK will begin on Saturday in Lulea. Due to a peculiarity in the Elitserien playoff format, Johan Harju and top seed Lulea get the 7th seed, AIK, instead of the 8th seed, MODO.

European Game Day: 3-5-12 and 3-6-12

3-5-12
KHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals (Russia)
(8)Khanty-Mansiysk 3 @ (1)Chelyabinsk 6
Chelyabinsk Leads the Series 3-1
Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Playoff totals (KHL): 2 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Regular season totals (KHL): 10 GP, 0-0-0, +8, 4 PIM
Regular season totals (MHL): 39 GP, 10-20-30, +13, 64 PIM

Ex-NHLer Stan Chistov had 2 goals and 1 assist in Chelyabinsk's 6-3 win over Yugra. Nikita Nesterov made his second appearance of the postseason after playing 1:54 in Chelyabinsk's wild 7-6 win on Sunday. He played 1:14 in Monday's match. Game Five is Wednesday.

Elsewhere, CSKA was eliminated from the KHL postseason after St. Peterburg clubbed them 5-0 in Game Five. Nikita Kucherov did not appear for CSKA in Game Five.

3-6-12
SM-liiga (Finland):
HIFK 2 @ JYP 1
Riku Helenius, JYP, Loss, 25/27, 2.01 GAA, .926 sv%
Season totals: 31 GP, 19-9-1, 6 SO, 1.68 GAA, .935 sv%

For the first time in a very long time, Riku Helenius has a multi-game losing streak as HIFK defeated JYP 2-1. 3 games remain in the regular season for JYP. They hover a precarious 2 points ahead of 7th place Jokerit in their pursuit of a first round playoff bye, and they'll face Lukko on Thursday.

KHL Western Conference Quarterfinals (Russia)
(4)Mytischi 3 @ (5) Cherepovets 1
Mytischi Leads the Series 3-2
Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, Loss, 32/34, 2.03 GAA, .941 sv%
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 2-3-0, 1 SO, 1.18 GAA, .963 sv%
Regular season totals: 33 GP, 16-11-1, 6 SO, 2.37 GAA, .925 sv%

Ex-NHLer Branko Radivojevic scored a pair of goals to lead Mytischi to a critical Game Five win over Cherepovets. Ex-Blue Jackets first round Nikolai Zherdev had Mytischi's other goal in the match. Game Six is Thursday.

MHL (Russia Jr.):
CSKA Jr. 12 @ Kirov-Chepetsk 3
Nikita Kucherov, CSKA Jr., 3-1-4, +5, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Season totals (MHL): 22 GP, 24-19-43, +16, 40 PIM
Season totals (KHL): 18 GP, 1-3-4, -1, 4 PIM

Nikita Kucherov returned with a vengeance, notching a hat trick and an assist as CSKA Jr. dismantled Kirov-Chepetsk 12-3. Kucherov's long time linemate Nikita Gusev posted an even more impressive 2 goals and 6 points in the win. CSKA Jr. faces KHK MVD Jr. on Thursday.

Elitserien (Sweden):
Vaxjo 1 @ Lulea 4
Johan Harju, Lulea, 0-1-1, +2, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 53 GP, 15-10-25, +12, 16 PIM

Johan Harju assisted on a third period goal in their 4-1 rout of Vaxjo. For Lulea, the game was their season finale. Lulea finishes out the regular season in the top spot in the Elitserien after going 25-13-17 this year. Lulea will face 8th place MODO in the first round of the playoffs. MODO finished 19-22-14 this year, and is the only postseason participant to have a negative goal differential (-1).

European Game Day: 3-3-12

SM-liiga (Finland):
JYP 4 @ Pelicans 6
Riku Helenius, JYP, Loss, 30/35, 5.07 GAA, .857 sv%
Season totals: 30 GP, 19-8-1, 6 SO, 1.67 GAA, .935 sv%

Riku Helenius and JYP blew a 3-0 first period lead and fell 6-4 to Lahti. Ex-Lightning draft pick Radek Smolenak had 2 goals and 1 assist in the comeback win for Pelicans. JYP faces HIFK next on Tuesday. JYP has 5 games left in their regular season.

KHL (Russia):
Western Conference Quarterfinals
(5)Cherepovets 2 @ (4) Mytischi 1 (OT)
Mytischi Leads the Series 2-1
Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, Win, 34/35, 0.87 GAA, .971 sv%
Playoff totals: 3 GP, 1-2-0, 0 SO, 1.27 GAA, .958 sv%
Regular season totals: 33 GP, 16-11-1, 6 SO, 2.37 GAA, .925 sv%

Ondrej Nemec scored 8:37 into overtime to lift Cherepovets to a 2-1 win over Mytischi in Game Three of their opening round series. Goaltender Vasily Koshechkin finally got some payoff in the win column, now having allowed just 4 goals in the series' first 3 games. Game Four is Sunday.

Elsewhere, Denis Parshin's overtime goal lifted CSKA to a 3-2 win over St. Petersburg, cutting SKA's series lead to 3-2 over the former Red Army squad. Nikita Kucherov did not appear in the match for CSKA.

Elitserien (Sweden):
Lulea 1 @ Skelleftea 3
Johan Harju, Lulea, 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 15-9-24, +10, 16 PIM

Johan Harju scored the game's opening goal, but Lulea still fell 3-1 to Skelleftea. Second place Skelleftea no doubt got a moral victory from the win, but Lulea has already clinched the Elitserien regular season title. They'll play Vaxjo on Tuesday in the final match of the regular season.

European Game Day: 3-1-12

KHL Western Conference Quarterfinals (Russia):
(5)Cherepovets 1 @ (4) Mytischi 3
Mytischi Leads the Series 2-0

Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, Loss, 32/34, 2.01 GAA, .941 sv%
Playoff totals: 2 GP, 0-2-0, 0 SO, 1.51 GAA, .951 sv%
Regular season totals: 33 GP, 16-11-1, 6 SO, 2.37 GAA, .925 sv%

You have to feel for Vasily Koshechkin. The big netminder has a beautiful .951 save percentage, but Cherepovets has mustered just 1 goal in 2 games against former Blues draft pick Konstantin Barulin, putting Cherepovets in a 3-1 series hole to Mytischi. Game Three is Saturday.

Elsewhere, ex-Lightning pick Fedor Fedorov had a pair of goals in St. Petersburg's 7-1 dismantling of 8 seed CSKA to take a 2-0 opening round series lead. Nikita Kucherov did not appear for CSKA in the match.

Elitserien (Sweden):
Lulea 1 @ AIK 0 (OT)
Johan Harju, Lulea, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 51 GP, 14-9-23, +9, 16 PIM

Elias Falth scored a power play goal 26 seconds into overtime to lead Lulea to a 1-0 win over AIK. With 2 games left in the regular season, the win puts Lulea 7 points up on second place Skelleftea and clinches the top spot for Lulea in the postseason. The two teams square off on Saturday.

Color me very impressed by Elitserien rookie goalie Johan Gustafsson of Lulea. He's currently forth in the league with a .930 save percentage and second in the league with a 1.77 GAA. He's also second in shutouts with 6, to boot, despite only having played 28 games. He was a 6th round pick of the Wild in 2010 and won Gold earlier this year at the U20 World Junior Championships.

European Game Day: 2-28-12

SM-liiga (Finland):
JYP 5 @ Assat 1
Riku Helenius, JYP, Win, 29/30, 1.00 GAA, .967 sv%
Season totals: 29 GP, 19-7-1, 6 SO, 1.55 GAA, .939 sv%

Riku Helenius stopped 29 shots and was second star of the match in JYP's 5-1 throttling of Assat. Former Lightning forward Eric Perrin was first star in the contest with 2 goals and 1 assist. We're heading down the stretch run of the SM-liiga season now, too, with just 7 contests left in the regular season for JYP. They'll face Ilves next on Friday. They're currently tied for 3rd in the SM-liiga with 94 points, 4 back of KalPa for tops in the league. Helenius leads the SM-liiga in GAA, save percentage, and is still tied for tops in shutouts.

Elitserien (Sweden):
Timra 2 @ Lulea 7
Johan Harju, Lulea, 0-2-2, +3, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 50 GP, 14-9-23, +9, 16 PIM

Johan Harju assisted on a pair of even strength goals as Lulea put up a touchdown in a 7-2 clubbering of Timra. Ex-Panthers draft pick Toni Koivisto and Blues draft pick Simon Hjalmarsson each had 2 goals for Lulea in the win. With 3 games to go in the regular season, Lulea sits atop the Elitserien table with a 5 point edge on second place Skelleftea. They draw AIK on Thursday.

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