Sweden vs. Russia
Two tough teams, one known for being ludicrously score-y, one fantastic at defending...who wins?
Well, we know the old addage in this sport and other sports right? "Defense wins championships."
The game started easy enough, both teams attempting to find their rhythm as they both attempted to open the scoring. Unfortunately for both sides it appears Sergei Bobrovsky and Jakob Markstrom decided to have a fantastic first and both goaltenders started sharp, playing to their strengths, but receiving nothing for their efforts but keeping the tension on who would break the scoring high.
This is where Sweden decided to remind Russia that if you don't use that high powered offense, they can conjure up goals in convincing and slick fashion. And playing Sweden on defense means one goal might as well be two and two? might as well be five. The scoring opened as Gabriel Landeskog took advantage of a Vadim Shipachev hooking penalty and put an absolute cannon shot past Bobrovsky. 1-0
Can't really fault anyone on a shot that good. Colorado has a lot to proud of in number 92 in yellow. And things didn't get better for Russia, as the goal seemed to break down their plan of attack, as they got sloppier and sloppier and spent more time in their own end. Where Sweden, off a change, no less, got Viktor Hedman to put home one of the slicker looking goals of the tournament.
That one was just perfect. Bobrovsky would definitely like it back, but Sweden's continued pressure made it difficult to say whether or not he'd have actually been able to keep it back. The period in general was a more desperate affair for Russia as they attempted to try and get anything in on Markstrom. Sweden walked out of the period with a pretty solid 2-0 lead.
...that, as previously mentioned, they put a stranglehold on.
Russia tried their damnedest to just keep it to 5 on 5 and tried to score in whatever fashion they could. But Sweden's defense? and their offense? suffocating in ways you cannot quite imagine. And if this wasn't enough? Markstrom made sure that getting behind was going to be a tall task.
What do you do after a save like that. After your best shot from your best player and the opponent gets the blocker on it? Is there hope? At all? But thankfully for Russia, they did get their answer! ...but thirty seconds before the game ended, so it might as well not have happened. Ovechkin tipped a puck past Markstrom and the game ended 2-1 in favor of Sweden. Sweden gets back to work on Tuesday versus their eternal rivals Finland, and Russia will play tonight at 8 o'clock.
speaking of Finland...oh man.
Finland vs. North America
I'm not sure Team Finland was ready for what happened in last night's contest against them. I think we knew Team North America was good but this was a shocker for Suomi, who is otherwise a pretty good team that went with a hubris-y decision and paid for it.
In the first piece of news I think you won't find very surprising about this game is that North America outshot Finland. What needs to be pointed out is that Finland's real moment of triumph in this period was that they actually managed to keep pace in shots with North America, which would be the last time they did it in the contest. The game started fine with both sides showing their incredible strengths, but an errant hooking penalty by Jori Lehtera meant that Finland put one of the most explosive teams in the tournament on the power play.
Whoops. Jack Eichel on the doorstep as Team NA just punched their way through the finnish defense and took advantage of a miscue on Pekka Rinne, and put the Youths up 1-0 early in the period. It almost got worse for Finland as the North Americans almost got a goal from Nathan MacKinnon, but it would be called back as apparently a puck clearly crossing the line doesn't really count as a goal. still 1-0.
I dunno, what do you think?
That would hold until the second period, where everything went to hell for team Finland.
The Second Period, where everything went to hell for Team Finland:
Look, I'm gonna assume that Pekka Rinne in his prime was as good as people say he is. Because tonight he looked every bit like a ten year veteran towards the end of his run.
Five minutes in, Johnny Geadreau ended up behind Rinne as Colton Parayko sent the puck past the entire Finnish defense and right to the stick of Johnny Hockey which bounced past Rinne. 2-0. Then 2 minutes later Jonathan Drouin ended up scoring off of the more sloppier moves in the tournament, but it didn't quite matter since Rinne was already down and flailing at the puck impotently. 3-0. Oh, you think Rinne going down and making a terrible attempt at a save was stuck to that sequence? 14 minutes in, Nathan Mackinnon got his goal back. In almost the same way Drouin did. 4-0 North America after 40 minutes.
I should let you know they also outshot finland 18-6. I think that's bad.
At this point, all Finland could do was try and not get shut out. They couldn't handle what Team North America was bringing to them, and so they looked as gassed as a team could look. Finland at long last got some reprieve from getting shelled as Valtteri Filppula put an errant puck past Matt Murray towards the end of the game.
After that, Finland just tried to make sure things didn't get worse. And mercifully for Finland it didn't. Team North America crushed them on the shot-chart in this period, unfortunately. as they put up 13 in comparison to Finland's white flag effort of 7. Team North America never lost pace however, and looked as good as they have been. Finland will have to lick it's wounds and regroup against Sweden on Tuesday, meanwhile North America gets to try to do the same thing they just did to Russia tonight at 8pm.
Bruins at the WCOH:
Tuukka Rask got to watch as Pekka Rinne looked old and bad against Team North America.
...You ever think sometimes teams make mistakes?