Now that we're all caught up, every morning (in North America at least) from now on, we'll be doing a brief recap of the previous day's games and previewing the games coming up later. I'll be putting them up at the same time every morning so hopefully you can make coming here a habit.
AIK 4, HV71 1 (AIK wins series 4-0): The 8th seed AIK Stockholm, who spent the previous nine seasons out of the Elitserien entirely, knocked off last year's champions and this year's regular season winners in a sweep to advance to the semifinals. They won this game by again getting outshot badly, particularly in the third, but somehow scored three times on only four third period shots to seal the win after falling behind 1-0 in the first. Christian Sandberg led the way with a goal and an assist.
Risto Pakarinen did a feature on AIK goalie Viktor Fasth, the star of the series, for IIHF.com. Here are the Game 4 hilites:
Wednesday's Games: Brynäs @ Färjestad (Färjestad leads series 3-1); Linköping @ Skellefteå (Series tied at 2); Djurgården @ Luleå (Luleå leads series 3-1).
Both Färjestad and Luleå have a chance to wrap up the series, while Skellefteå will hope their top offensive performers will find a way to break through after being held fairly silent the past three games. This will be Luleå's second chance to knock out the Stockholm based Djurgården.
Espoo Blues 2, Oulu Kärpät 1 (OT) (Espoo wins play-in 2-1): The final spot in the Kanada-malje quarterfinals is now in place, thanks to Petri Lammassaari scoring at 18:00 of overtime. Espoo will head to Pori to take on Ässät on Friday to start their seven game series. All four quarterfinals will start on that date, with no other games relating to the league until then.
Kontinental Hockey League (Russia/Latvia)
Avangard Omsk 3, Metallurg Magnitogorsk 2 (3OT) (Series tied at 2): The KHL does it right: most European leagues still use the shootout if there is no winner in a playoff game after twenty minutes of overtime, but the KHL adopted the North American standard and as a result, you can sometimes get a game like this. The hometown Metallurg fans were heartbroken when after 49:11 of overtime, Avangard defenseman Andrei Pervyshin one-timed a loose puck into the top corner, past Georgy Gelashvili, who had made 58 saves to keep the home team in it. Karri Ramo made 57 saves in what quickly had become a must win game for the regular season champions. Hilites below (sorry for the low quality, it's all I could find):
Ak Bars Kazan 4, Salavat Yulaev Ufa 0 (Ufa leads series 3-1): The two-time Gagarin Cup champions didn't want to give up their title without a fight, shutting down the KHL's feared offensive machine from Ufa. Denis Zaripov had three assists, Alexei Morozov had a goal and an assist and Petri Vehanen posted a 33 save shutout as Kazan finally got to Ufa goalie Erik Ersberg, chasing him from the game after allowing 4 goals on 22 shots. The series returns to Kazan on Thursday.
Wednesday's Games: Dinamo Riga @ Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (5:00 PM CET/12:00 PM EST; Yaroslavl leads series 3-1); Atlant Moscow Oblast @ SKA St. Petersburg (5:00 PM CET/12:00 PM EST; SKA leads series 3-1).
Well, this could be the end of the international component of the KHL season, as Riga faces elimination and they've definitely been outclassed to date against Lokomotiv. It took until this year for SKA to win a playoff round, and now the high profile team looks poised to make the Western Conference Finals.
Tipsport Extraliga (Czech Rep.)
Wednesday's Game: HC Slavia Praha @ Bílí Tygri Liberec (Series tied 3-3)
This is the second series in which Slavia Prague has gone the distance, needing the full five games to qualify for the quarterfinals before taking the #2 ranked White Tigers of Liberec to a seventh game. Petr Nedved had the shootout winner in Game 6 as Liberec tries to complete the comeback from a 3-1 deficit.
Slovnaft Extraliga (Slovakia)
HK Poprad 7, HC 05 Banská Bystrica 5 (Poprad leads series 1-0): Poprad had seven different goal scorers in front of a boisterous home crowd, grabbing an early lead in their semifinal series. Jan Kopecky, Arne Krotak, and Adam Lapsansky each had a goal and an assist in the victory. The two teams get right back at it today for Game 2.
Wednesday's Game: Banská Bystrica @ Poprad
National League A (Switzerland)
Kloten Flyers 4, SC Bern 1 (Kloten leads series 1-0): Simon Bondemann, Kimmo Rintanen and Mark Bell each had a goal and an assist, and Ronald Rüeger made twenty saves as Kloten outclassed last year's champions in the opening game of the NLA semifinals. Martin Plüss was about the only SC Bern player to threaten Kloten, firing five shots on goal while scoring the only goal.
HC Davos 3, EV Zug 1 (Davos leads series 1-0): Beat Forster scored the go ahead goal at 6:08 of the third period, while Lenoardo Genoni made 39 saves to preserve a 3-1 victory. Petr Taticek scored an empty netter to seal the deal, with the reliable Reto Von Arx picking up two assists on the night. Zug sniper Damien Brunner was held off the scoresheet, but led all players with seven shots on goal.
Ambri-Piotta 2, Rapperswil Lakers 1 (Ambri-Piotta leads play-out 1-0): In the series where the loser's season continues, Ambri-Piotta got a head start on reaching summer vacation with a tight road win. Thoams Bläume made 32 saves as the anemic offence of Ambri came up with just enough on this night, thanks to goals by Paolo Duca and Julian Walker. All three series resume on Thursday.
Deutsche Eishockey Liga (Germany)
Wednesday's Games: Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers @ Adler Mannheim (Game 1, 7:30 PM CET/2:30 PM EST), Kölner Haie @ EHC München (Game 1, 7:35 PM CET/2:35 PM EST).
The DEL play-ins begin today, as these teams play a best of 3 series for the right to play the top two teams in the regular season.