Relegation Round One
In the first game of the relegation round, Switzerland beat Belarus 5-1. They play twice more, if necessary, to determine who stays and who goes for next year. Latvia has already secured a place in next year's tournament.
Russia: 4 vs Denmark: 3 in Overtime
Russia should have known their quarterfinal opponent wasn’t going to be an easy mark. The Danes had played tough in every game, even when they were in deep over their heads.
In the first period, things went according to plan for Russia. They opened the scoring with a goal from Yegor Korshkov, and they outshot Denmark 10-6.
In the second period, the wheels started to come off for Russia, and they've been there before, losing focus in tournaments like this. The Danes played well defensively, and they found two chances to capitalize on, scoring one from Markus Jensen and another form Thomas Olsen.
Shots were 11-9 in the second for Russia. Near the end of the period, the Danish lead shocked them into more normal levels of action, and they had 20 minutes to get back on track.
Russia got a power play early in the third, and for the opening few minutes they laid siege to Danish goalie Thomas Lillie with a shot rate that amounted to one shot per minute on the clock. Russia's Alexander Georgiev didn't face a single shot in the period until into the second half when Denmark got the puck and launched it at him hard in a clear the zone but don't ice it move for a line change.
Artur Lauta tied it up for Russia on the 16th shot of the period. The Danes were holding on, but they looked like they had not much left to hold on to. The Russians had a mishap on an attempt to move the puck where it hit a ref's skate, and the Danes had it. A hard point shot got the puck in play. and Emil Christensen got his first goal of the tournament and took the lead back for Denmark.
Denmark had just over 5 minutes to hang on under the Russian barrage, and that's a tough job when you're all wearing glass slippers.
The Russians took a timeout with less than 2 minutes left. To the strains of We Will Rock You, play got underway with Georviev out and the extra attacker on for Russia, and the barrage had turned into a cycle. Vladislav Kamenev (Nashville Predators prospect playing for the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL) tied the game up again with less than a minute to play. The clock was chiming twelve, but there was still a chance for the Danes; they had 10 minutes of overtime.
Overtime only lasted 5 minutes. Ivan Provorov (Philadelphia Flyers 2015 7th overall draft pick)decided that Cinderella had danced long enough. He carried the puck into the zone, kept it, then set up Kamenev for the game winner.
Thomas Lille faced 46 shots and just couldn't quiet pull of the miracle. His team managed only 21 against Russia.
Nylander Health Update
Anyone who has studied this hit, watching the impact of Chris Egli's body and William Nylander's collapse onto the ice, would think, surely this caused trauma to the left side of Nylander's head. The player who made the hit, Switzerland's Egli, was suspended for three games. He is already back on the ice; Nylander is not. Nylander is not playing during the quarterfinal game against Slovakia, and it seems increasingly likely that he will not return for the tournament.
Initially there was hope that Nylander would rejoin the team after a short recovery period, as the other two Swedish players injured during the very first match did. There have been several press conferences since, and while the language is carefully worded to stonewall any suggestion of the word "concussion," by yesterday the doctors and league officials all seem in agreement -- Nylander is out for at least the quarterfinals.
There has been some hesitation to call it a concussion, and instead of making a blanket ruling about Nylander's health and returning him to Toronto for further rehabilitation, the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation and the Toronto Maple Leafs, along with Nylander's doctors, are doling out the health information game by game. Nylander was set to speak to the press at a certain point -- the conference was cancelled by a timely call from Lou Lamoriello. Now Lou has flown to Helsinki to speak to Peter Forsberg (not the player, a vice-chair of the Swedish IHA), and further decisions will be announced after they meet.
An editorial from a Swedish sports writer speculates that that Nylander will not return for the tournament, citing the fact that concussion recovery usually comes in steps -- and if at any point the steps can't be taken, the player has to take a step back. Has this happened for Nylander? Who knows.
This story will also update in steps as news gets doled out to us one game at a time.
Sweden: 4 at Slovakia: 0
After the Danes stuck with the Russians despite being heavily outshot, the Slovakians tried to do the same with the high-flying Swedes.
But after being outshot 16-2 in the early going, Team Slovakia -- fresh off a narrow 2-1 loss of their own against Russia -- fell behind 2-0 in the first period.
The Swedes, even without top Leafs prospect William Nylander, were too much to handle for Team Slovakia.
In the second period, they added to their lead after a give-and-go play between Jens Looke (Coyotes) and Christoffer Ehn (Red Wings) got the latter his first goal of the tournament on route to a 35-11 lead in shots after 40 minutes.
Fellow Leafs prospect Dmytro Timashov, second on Team Sweden in scoring (5PTS, 4GP) behind 2016 NHL Draft eligible winger Alex Nylander coming in, created chances throughout the game but was outdone by Los Angeles Kings prospect Adrian Kempe. Kempe not only scored an early third period goal under the bar to give Sweden a 4-0 lead, but he also added an assist on the second goal of the game to surpass Timashov for second in scoring.
After adding a goal from Looke (his first of the tournament), Timashov nearly found Nylander in front of the net midway through the third period to make the game 5-0 before the Leafs draftee drew a penalty.
On the powerplay, Timashov made a pair of nice plays to set up Blackhawks prospect Gustav Forsling and Marcus Pettersson on the point before being denied by standout USHL goalie and New York Rangers prospect Adam Huska.
Moments later, at 5-on-5, a Timashov slapshot from the point hit the post to deny the streaking Leafs prospect. Timashov and Nylander weren't going to be held off the scoresheet forever though, and late in the third period the Leafs prospect stopped up in the corner to find his younger linemate cross-ice for a 6-0 win.
With the assist, Timashov enters Sweden's semifinal matchup against the winner of Canada-Finland with six points in five games on the tournament's only undefeated-in-regulation team.
Finland at Canada
USA: 7 Czech Republic: 0
The US dominated the Czechs, as the score shows. Auston Matthews had a hat trick and Alex Nedeljkovic got the shutout. The IIHF recap has all the details.
Semifinal action gets underway on Monday with Sweden facing Finland at 9:00 EST and the USA meeting Russia at 1:00 EST.