High Powered SKA knocked out by Atlant, Skellefteå and Luleå win Game 7s

Since I couldn't get a recap together for Sunday, this one will be extra special and recap both Saturday and Sunday's games.

Kontinental Hockey League (Russia)

Atlant Mytishi 3, SKA St. Petersburg 2 (OT) (Atlant wins series 4-3):  Things were looking good in this series for SKA St. Petersburg, the team run by KHL President Alexander Medvedev that pays its players NHL caliber salaries, but the big boys couldn't close out a 3-1 series lead and found themselves with their backs against the wall.  It's been a strange season for SKA, and how it ended won't help matters:  with five minutes to play and leading 2-1, goaltender Jakub Stepanek decided to emulate Marc-Andre Fleury circa January 2004:

After that moment, you can guess what happened in OT.  Dmitriy Bykov was the OT hero as Atlant completed the comeback and set up a Western Conference Final against top ranked Lokomotiv Yaroslavl starting on Wednesday.

Metallurg Magnitogorosk 2, Avangard Omsk 1 (Series Tied 3-3):  On Saturday, Metallurg forced a Game 7 (and avoided another potentially long overtime) by getting the winning goal in the final minute of regulation, with Stanislav Chistov deflecting a point shot past Karri Ramo.  The series concludes today in Omsk, at 2:00 PM CET/9:00 AM EST, with the winner playing Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the Eastern Conference Final.

Elitserien (Sweden)

Luleå 4, Djurgården 3 (OT) (Luleå wins series 4-3):  Just like SKA, Djurgården almost had this one.  A third period goal from 2011 draft hopeful Mika Zibanejad gave the Stockholm based club a 3-2 lead with just under six minutes to play, and it looked like we might have another 0-3 comeback.  But Simon Hjalmarsson tied the game on a late power play with goalie Anders Nilsson on the bench to make it a 6 on 4, and in overtime, Robin Jonsson won the game for the northern most Elitserien team.  Chris Abbott had three assists for Luleå and Joonas Vihko had two goals.

Skellefteå 3, Linköping 2 (Skellefteå wins series 4-3):  A solid all around performance for the home team in this one, with their big three (Jokaim Lindstrom, Mikko Lehtonen, and David Rundblad) all hitting the scoresheet while the team as a whole outshot Linköping 32-21, including 19-3 in the first period to get the early lead.  The win sets up a semifinal clash with Luleå, while Färjestad will play the cindarella AIK Stockholm team.  And for our Adam Larsson watch:  he played a team high 24:47 while finishing even for the day, with one minor penalty and two shots on goal.

Kvalserien Results:  Sodertalje 6, Rogle 2; Vaxjo 4, Orebro 2; MODO 3, Mora 0.  Current standings:  1. Vaxjo, 2. Sodertalje, 3. MODO, 4. Rogle, 5. Orebro, 6. Mora.

SM-Liiga (Finland)

JYP 2, Ilves 1; Blues 3, Ässät 0; Jokerit 4, HIFK 2; KalPa 3, Lukko 0 (All winners lead series 2-0):  Harri Pesonen had a goal and an assist for the regular season winners JYP to lead them to a road victory, where the became the only higher seed to take a 2-0 series lead.  A 35 save shutout from Iiro Tarkki combined with goals from Jani Lajunen, Jari Sailio and Toni Kähkönen as the Espoo Blues continued their march from winning the playoff qualifier to a 2-0 lead on 2nd ranked Ässät (Pori).  In being shut out, 2011 draft prospect Joel Armia had a fine game with nine shot attempts, second on his team, although according to the scorers most were from the outside.  Ex-NHLer Petteri Nokelainen scored twice to lead Jokerit to a 2-0 series lead over cross-town rivals HIFK, in front of a boisterous crowd of 13,346.  Mikael Granlund missed this game following the injury he received in Game 1 from a hit into the goalpost from Ossi Vaananen.  And Ari Ahonen made 32 saves as KalPa held serve at home to make it a 2-0 series lead over Lukko.

All series resume again today, at 5:30 PM CET/12:30 PM EST. 

Qualifier (Liigakarsinta):  Pelicans 4, Sport 0 (Pelicans lead series 1-0).  Mike York and Jakub Sindel had a goal and an assist each and Niko Hovinen made 27 saves for the shutout as the Lahti Pelicans opened the series to qualify for next year's SM-Liiga with a win.  Vassa Sport were this year's Mestis champions, from Finland's second hockey division, while the Pelicans finished last in the SM-Liiga this year.  The series resumes tomorrow.

Slovnaft Extraliga (Slovakia)

HC 05 Banská Bystrica 3, HK Poprad 1 (Game 3); HK Poprad 3, HC 05 Banská Bystrica 2 (Game 4):  After splitting the two games in Poprad, Poprad answered the challenge and came up with a split of their own to regain home ice advantage for the final three games.  Miroslav Simonovic made 30 saves in Game 3 to lead Banská Bystrica to victory, but three first period goals in Game 4 lifted Poprad to their win.  Patrik Svitana had a goal and an assist while Kyle Wanvig had two assists for Poprad in Game 4's win.  The two teams resume the series on Tuesday in Poprad.  Series is tied 2-2.

National League A (Switzerland)

Kloten Flyers 4, SC Bern 3; HC Davos 6, EV Zug 1 (Kloten and Davos lead series 3-0):  Not much drama in the Swiss championships, as we look to be headed for a Kloten-Davos final which would pit the top two teams from the regular season against each other in the playoffs.  Kloten got contributions from four different goal scorers, with Kimmo Rintanen breaking a 3-3 tie with just under eight minutes to play for the win.  Beat Forester had a goal and three assists, while Josef Marha had a goal and two assists to lead Davos to the big home win.  Both series resume on Tuesday.

Rapperswil Lakers 2, Ambri-Piotta 1 (OT) (Ambri leads series 2-1):  Sven Berger scored the OT winner to give Rapperswil a shot in this play-out series.  The series resumes on Tuesday in Ambri.

Tipsport Extraliga (Czech Rep.)

HC Viktovice Steel 4, HC Eaton Pardubice 0 (Game 1); HC Eaton Pardubice 3, HC Viktovice Steel 2 (Game 2):  Jiri Burger had two goals and Roman Malek had a 30 save shutout to open this semifinal series with a win for Viktovice.  However, goals by Petr Koukal, Ales Pisa and Jan Stary offset a pair of goals from Viktor Ujcik to have Pardubice come away with a split to open the series.  The Czech Hockey Report talks about Ujcik's two goals, which give him the all-time Extraliga playoff scoring leader.  Series tied 1-1.

Monday's game:  HC Slavia Praha @ HC Ocelari Trinec (Game 1, 5:00 PM CET/12:00 PM EST).

Canadian Hockey League (Canada/USA)

Saturday's Key Games:  Chilliwack 3, Everett 0; Portland 5, Seattle 4; Tri-City 6, Spokane 4; Sudbury 6, Belleville 3; Peterborough 4, Barrie 3.

The WHL was completely decided by the end of Saturday night, with the Portland win and Spokane loss giving Portland the U.S. Division title and home ice advantage through to the Western Conference Finals, while Seattle's loss gave Everett the 8th and final playoff spot in the East.  In the OHL, however, it set up a meaningful Sunday for Belleville and Peterborough, as the Petes pulled within a single point of the Bulls.

Sunday's Key Games:  Belleville 3, Brampton 2; Oshawa 3, Peterborough 1.  

The Belleville Bulls did eventually get that final seed in the Eastern Conference of the OHL playoffs, and for his efforts, Yahoo!'s Behind the Net blog gave rookie goaltender Malcolm Subban their first star honours for the day.  Subban made 42 saves as the Bulls were outshot badly.  They'll need top notch goaltending like that to make noise in the first round against the top ranked Mississauga St. Michael's Majors.

I'll get into the playoff picture for the WHL, OHL, and QMJHL throughout the coming week.  

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