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World Championship quarterfinals: Gaudreau, Monahan out; Hudler, Backlund move on

Two Flames have made it through to the semifinals.

Jiri Hudler and Mikael Backlund are both in the semis, wearing different jerseys, just like here.
Jiri Hudler and Mikael Backlund are both in the semis, wearing different jerseys, just like here.
Dave Sandford

The Flames entered the IIHF World Championship with five players. Now, after the defeats of Team USA and Team Canada, just two Flames veterans remain.

Team USA and Johnny Gaudreau

Bad news: The Americans lost 4-3 to the Czechs, and thus, Gaudreau's tournament is over.

Good news: He went down swinging.

Gaudreau had no points in the loss, but he did play 21:36, the most out of all American forwards. He was on the ice for Tyler Johnson's two late goals as the Americans fought back from a 4-1 deficit, and was on the ice in the final minutes of the one-goal game his team was desperately trying to tie. Whenever he was on the ice, he was creating chances.

Gaudreau saw most of his ice time in the third, where he played 8:54, putting him on par with the minutes received by the top line. He had three shots on net, two of which came in the third.

Trouble struck Team USA when their captain, Justin Abdelkader, decided it would be a good idea to deliver a late headshot on Vladimir Sobotka for some reason. Just like that, he was gone from the game (and will surely face a suspension that will apply to future international games), and the Czechs scored twice on the ensuing five minute major. Another American penalty led to a third powerplay goal which was ultimately the game winner.

The Americans pulled Tim Thomas with just under two minutes to go, during which Johnson scored both of his goals. Gaudreau was a constant at that point, joining the Americans' top line, as well as their best player of the game, Peter Mueller, and Seth Jones. Not a bad group to play with while you fight to keep your country alive.

So that's all the hockey for Johnny Hockey this season. He finishes the tournament with two goals and 10 points over eight games, second-most out of all American players, and first for all forwards. Only Seth Jones scored more, with two goals and nine assists.

Having a fourth rounder on par with a fourth overall isn't bad at all. Here's to next season, Gaudreau's first full season signed with the Flames.

Team Czech Republic and Jiri Hudler

Bad news: Hudler had no points despite playing a role in finishing Gaudreau's tournament hmph.

Good news: Well, he does get to keep playing, and by making it to the semifinals, has a pretty good shot at a medal.

Hudler played 13:29 in the Czechs' 4-3 win over the Americans, seventh out of all Czech forwards. He was on the ice for Roman Cervenka's goal on the five minute major, but was also present when Tyler Johnson scored in the final minute to make it a one-goal game. He had just one shot on net.

Relatedly, yes, old friend Cervenka was named the Czechs' best player of the game and yes he looked real good out there.

Anyway, with the Czechs' win, they advance to the semifinals. They'll play Team Finland on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on TSN.

Team Canada and Sean Monahan

Bad news: Team Canada fell 3-2 to Team Finland, and thus Sean Monahan is done playing hockey for the season.

Good news: He got a fair amount of ice time, and was one of Canada's shot leaders.

Monahan played 12:15 in the loss, tied with Matt Read for ninth out of all Canadian forwards. He had three shots on net during that time, tied with four other Canadians for the second most (Nazem Kadri led the way with six). He had the second least amount of ice time out of Canadians with three shots on net - only Erik Gudbranson played less.

Monahan wasn't on the ice for any goals. He only took one faceoff, which he lost. His linemate, Mark Scheifele, was named Canada's best player of the game, and had one goal.

He saw most of his ice time in the third period, when Canada was fighting to keep a one goal lead. He played 5:16 in the third, seventh out of all Canadian forwards. Monahan was also on the ice during the dying minutes when Canada was fighting to tie the game back up.

Monahan finishes his tournament with two assists in eight games. He started as Team Canada's 13th forward, worked himself up to the position of fourth line centre, and then roughly split duties with Scheifele throughout the rest of the tournament (Alex Burrows' injury helped with that, though).

All in all, he had a pretty good showing for his first major international tournament, impressing his coach early on and proving himself to be a reliable forward in all situations for his team (and he's probably only going to get better with age). This was a good experience for him, and we should be able to look forward to more in the upcoming season.

Team Sweden and Mikael Backlund

Bad news: Backlund didn't score any goals which is pretty much the worst news here.

Good news: Team Sweden defeated Team Belarus 3-2 to move on to the semifinals, and Backlund continued to be one of Sweden's leaders.

Backlund played 19:43 against Belarus, the most out of all Swedish forwards, and fourth most out of all Swedes. He had one assist, a secondary effort on Jimmie Ericsson's powerplay goal that tied the game at two, and one shot on net. Backlund was also on the ice for one Belarusian goal against.

There isn't much else to say here, other than the Swedes love Backlund (as should everybody). He's just below a point per game so far. He's consistently one of Sweden's ice time leaders. He wears an A for one of the top teams in the tournament (the other letter-wearers, Ericsson and Joel Lundqvist, are in their 30s; Backlund is still just 25). He's a young leader and a great player and no I will not stop gushing over him every chance I get.

And since the Swedes won today, we're all going to get more chances to adore Backlund. Team Sweden will play Team Russia, the only undefeated team of the tournament, in the semifinals. They play Saturday on TSN.