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KHL Playoff Game Day: 3-20-13

KHL Playoffs (Russia):

Eastern Conference
(1)Kazan 4 vs. (5)Ufa 3
Kazan Wins the Series 4-3
Andrey Vasilevskiy, Ufa, DNP
Playoff totals: 0 GP, 0-0-0, 0 SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Regular season totals (KHL): 8 GP, 4-1-0, 1 SO, 2.22 GAA, .924 sv%
Regular season totals (MHL): 27 GP, 20-6-1, 3 SO, 1.93 GAA, .930 sv%

Ex-NHLer Nikolai Zherdev had a goal as Kazan squeaked by Ufa in a 4-3 Game Seven triumph to advance to the KHL Eastern Conference Finals. Ex-NHLer Brent Sopel had a goal in defeat for Ufa. Lightning prospect netminder Andrey Vasilevskiy did not play in the playoffs, and speculation will now turn toward his potential signing with the club. His junior club remains alive in the MHL playoffs, so it is possible he re-joins his former team.

Kazan advances to play Chelyabinsk and the last Lightning prospect survivor in the KHL playoffs, Nikita Nesterov. Game One is slated for Saturday. SKA St. Petersburg and Dynamo Moscow are facing off in the Western Finals.

Koekkoek Gets His Contract

The Lightning signed 2012 first-round pick Slater Koekkoek to a standard three-year, entry-level contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

"This is obviously something I have been working toward my whole life,” Koekkoek said in a Spitfires press release. “I am happy it's done. But now the real hard work begins.

"Obviously my first hope is to make the Tampa club out of camp [next year]. But knowing I have a great team and teammates to come back to in Windsor if that doesn't happen is awesome."

Prospect of the Week: March 19, 2013

We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Prospect of the Week for March 19 is … Dylan Blujus, D, Brampton (OHL – Canada).

For years Lightning prospect followers have pounded their fists on their computer tables in demand of a right-handed defenseman capable of impacting a game at both ends of the ice. They got their wish last June when the Bolts selected Brampton (OHL) defenseman Dylan Blujus in the second round (40th overall).

Blujus had just completed a 34-point season with the Battalion and was a prime candidate for a breakout season offensively in 2012-2013.

That hasn’t exactly happened for the young Amherst, New York, native, as he just finished his third OHL season with fewer goals and points than his second season despite playing more games. Not everything shows up on the stat sheet, obviously, and Blujus has further developed his physical game while playing big minutes for a defense-first club.

Elitserien Playoff Game Night: 3-18-13

Elitserien Playoffs (Sweden)
Quarterfinals
Brynas 0 @ Skelleftea 4
Skelleftea wins the series 4-0

Johan Harju, Brynas, 0-0-0, -1, 2 SOG, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 4 GP, 0-0-0, -5, 0 PIM
Season totals: 55 GP, 18-10-28, -9, 16 PIM

Brynas entered game four of the best-of-seven series with their season on life-support, needing a win to stay alive, but crumbled after Skelleftea struck on the power play approaching the midpoint of the middle frame and wound up shutout and swept in front of the home crowd. Just as had been the case in the three previous matches, Brynas had difficulty solving Skelleftea's goaltending, even despite seeing more balance in the frequency of opportunities. Former Lightning netminder Johan Holmqvist, who made every start for Brynas, stopped 29 of 32 Skelleftea attempts on net. Like his club, Johan Harju, who was his team's leading goal-scorer and among the team leaders in total production in the regular season, finished his postseason in extremely disappointing fashion having gone pointless in the series.

Official Recap | Box Score | Highlights

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