Thursday, May 20, 2010
Unbeaten Russia to face Germany
COLOGNE, Germany -- Evgeni Malkin scored twice, and Russia beat Canada again at the world ice hockey championship, eliminating the Olympic champion with a convincing 5-2 win Thursday night.
Russia beat Canada in the last two world finals. Together, they have won the title 49 times, and unbeaten Russia has an excellent chance at a record 26th this weekend.
In the semifinals, Russia will face host Germany, which beat Switzerland 1-0 thanks to Philip Gogulla's goal midway through the second period.
"The way we play, only the best team will win," Russia captain Ilya Kovalchuk said. "But we feel good about ourselves and we have to be ready for the next game."
The other semifinal on Saturday in Cologne will be Sweden against the Czech Republic. Sweden beat Denmark 4-2 and the Czechs held off Finland 2-1 in a shootout.
Maxim Afinogenov, Pavel Datsyuk and Sergei Fedorov added the others for Russia in a showdown with Canada that featured big hits and a fair share of bad blood.
"They took some bad penalties and we took advantage of it," Kovalchuk said.
Russia lost to Canada 7-3 in the Vancouver Olympics quarterfinals and retained 14 from that side. Canada, however, had only Corey Perry from the gold-medal winners.
The Russians grabbed the lead with 57.6 seconds left in the first period. Afinogenov's slapshot was slowed by Canada goalie Chris Mason but not stopped.
Russia doubled its lead less than two minutes into the second on a power play with Datsyuk poking home from the right side after some fine passing.
The Canadians increased the pressure offensively in the second period but could not beat Russia goalie Semyon Varlamov.
The Russians finished off Canada with another power-play goal with 2:29 remaining in the second as Dmitri Kalinin fed Malkin for a shot through Mason's legs. Fedorov joined the scoring parade midway through the third, deflecting home Vitaly Atyushov's slapshot from the blue line.
Canada finally got a consolation goal on a breakaway through John Tavares. Malkin added an empty net goal with three minutes remaining and Matt Duchene hit one in with 14.1 seconds left.
In another rematch of the Olympic quarterfinals, and another reversal, goalie Tomas Vokoun saved 29 shots and forced two misses in a penalty shootout to lead the Czechs past Finland.
"It was a tough game, there were times when I was very nervous," said Jaromir Jagr, who helped to lift the Czechs into their first semis since 2006.
Sweden's only loss in the tournament came against the Czechs.
Finland opened the scoring just 55 seconds in when Petri Kontiola streaked down the center of the Czech defense and beat Vokoun.
The Czechs were more dangerous in the second period but did not beat Finnish netminder Pekka Rinne until 1:12 into the third as Jakub Klepis blasted home from just inside the blue line.
Finland was unable to take advantage of a four-on-three power play midway through the 10-minute overtime.
Lukas Kaspar and Jan Marek converted in the shootout for the Czechs but Jussi Jokinen missed right and Kontiola missed high to send the Czechs into the last four.
"The shootout is lots of times a matter of luck," Vokoun said. "I get some, and I miss some. It's a fun way to win, but a tough way to lose."
In Mannheim, Marcus Nilson scored on the power play in the first period, Jonas Andersson made it 2-0 seven minutes into the second, and Rickard Wallin gave Sweden a 3-0 advantage with a short-handed goal five minutes later.
Jesper Damgaard trimmed the deficit to 3-1 50 seconds later for Denmark.
Late in the game, Linus Omark scored for Sweden and Morten Madsen added a goal for Denmark, both on the power play.