The playoff round of the IIHF World Hockey Championship began today in Russia with four quarterfinal games underway. Canada was squaring off against Sweden who finished third in Group A. Sweden entered having lost their most recent game 4-1 to Russia. Sweden's leading scoring is Gustav Nyquist (Detroit Red Wings) who has 7 goals and an assist in 7 games. Other notable Swedes are Mikael Backlund (Calgary Flames) and Jacob Markstrom (Vancouver Canucks).
Canada played Sweden at last year's tournament during the round robin and they defeated the Swedes 6-4. These countries also met in the Gold Medal Game back at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 with Canada winning the gold. There are only four players from that game playing in today's game, those being Matt Duchene, Corey Perry, Gustav Nyquist, and Jimmie Ericsson.
Cam Talbot (Edmonton Oilers) started in goal for Canada while Sweden countered with Jacob Markstrom. Both teams failed to score on power plays in the first period before Canada's Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets) would deflect a Ryan O'Reilly (Buffalo Sabres) shot with just over a minute and a half in the period. Mark Stone (Ottawa Senators) would also get an assist on the goal. Canada led 1-0 after the first and had a 12-6 advantage in shots.
Matt Dumba (Minnesota Wild) would extend Canada's lead to 2-0 on a powerplay early in the second period as he wired a shot past Markstrom. Assists on the goal went to Stone and Scheifele. Brad Marchand would extend the lead to 3-0 pouncing on a loose puck in the slot after Dumba intentionally banked his shot off the end boards. 11 seconds later Max Domi (Arizona Coyotes) would one-time a pass from Sam Reinhart (Buffalo Sabres) to make it 4-0. Canada ended up taking a 4-0 lead to the third with a 20-14 shot advantage.
Canada would take two early penalties to give the Swedes a 5 on 3 powerplay and some life. However, Canada would hold and remain ahead 4-0. Mark Stone would get his third point of the game by capitalizing on a Swedish turnover in front of their net and wire a puck through Markstrom's five hole. Two minutes later, Derick Brassard (Columbus Blue Jackets) would cap off the scoring making it 6-0. Brendan Gallagher (Montreal Canadiens) and Taylor Hall (Edmonton Oilers) would get assists on the goal. Canada wins 6-0 and advances to the semi finals later this weekend. Final shots were 34-24 for Canada.
- Mark Stone had 3 points
- Cam Talbot got his third shutout of the tournament
- Matt Dumba had his first points of the tournament
- Stone and Brassard are now tied as Canada's scoring leaders
- Mikael Backlund's tournament ends as he finishes with 3 goals and an assist
Czech Republic 1 vs United States 2 (SO)
Auston Matthews and the United States eliminated Czech Republic 2-1 in a shootout earlier on Thursday. Matthews had the Americans regulation goal as well as the shootout winner as the top seed in Group A was sent packing. The United States will play Canada in the semifinals on Saturday.
Finland 5 vs Denmark 1
Finland did what was expected of them and eliminated Denmark easily in a 5-1 game. It was 2-1 halfway through the 2nd before Patrik Laine would score to make it 3-1 and Finland took it from there. They will play Russia in the seminfinal.
Russia 4 vs Germany 1
Germany actually led the Russians 1-0 after the first period but Russia used the energy from the home crowd and used a three goal second period to eliminate Germany. Tournament leading scorer Vadim Shipachyov had three points and Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals) had a goal of his own. Russia plays Finland in the second semifinal on Saturday.
Finland vs Russia at 7:15am MST on Saturday
United States vs Canada at 11:15am MST on Saturday
Winners will play for gold on Sunday and losers will play for bronze.
Have a good weekend everyone and Go Canada Go!