Today at the World Cup of Hockey, the eyes of the hockey world, and the Young Guns of North America, trained their attention this afternoon on Toronto.
The Russians came in needing a win to advance in the World Cup of Hockey. But had to play without their most veteran forward, future Hall of Famer, Pavel Datsyuk.
The Finns needed this game just to save face after disappointing their fans up to this point in the World Cup of Hockey Tournament. And chose to go with Rask in net instead of the more experienced Rinne.
Period one felt like it leaned toward the Russians. Except for the fact that the first few power plays went to the Finns. Neither team had scored a power play goal yet in the event coming into play.
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You would think Laine is going to get over his timidity, or Malkin will go on a tear, any moment. Ovie fanned on one from his favorite spot in the closing minute of the first. That was as close as either team came to lighting the lamp.
The second period, or at least the first half of it, was all Russia. Ovechkin with a little magic fed Tarasenko for a tap in, and then Telegin made a little move for the second goal. Finland pressured in the last 8-10 minutes. They took over play and had plenty of chances. But little that forced Bobrovsky to do anything spectacular.
We are still waiting for Evgeny Malkin to be a superstar. He broke up a Finland chance with a nice poke check. But you’d expect more.
One Islander related note, ok distantly related, but Ville Pokka was beaten three times on that play that lead to the second goal for Russia.
Finland started the third period in need of a goal. Maybe not as much the North American Team needed them to score it. You have to wonder when a team with no chance of moving on is going to pack it in.
Another Russian goal might do it. During a 4 on 4, with Nik Kulemin bleeding on the bench, Malkin came down the wing and beat Rask short side.
Malkin has come alive in this tournament. McDavid, Eichel, Matthews? Not so much. They’re going home.
Russia moves forward into the Elimination Round with a whole bunch of highly skilled forwards and a goalie on top of his game. They aren’t favorites, but they’re a threat to the Canadians they play next.
Finland goes home secure in the knowledge that they were good enough to score a goal in this Tournament.