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2017 IIHF World Championsips: opening weekend results had goals for Marner and Nylander

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William Nylander had a breakout game, Mitch Marner surfed the red wave and Miro Aaltonen reluctantly became part of French history.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday’s Games

The only one of the Toronto Maple Leafs trio of Miro Aaltonen, Mitch Marner and William Nylander in action on Saturday was Nylander and he made some noise.

William Nylander with 2 goals and 1 assist against Germany - Arvind
Just put him in blue, and he starts scoring.

The game finished up 7-2 Sweden over the same German team that beat the USA the day before.

The rest of the results are on the official site.

Sunday’s Games

Solvenia faced Canada and lost 7-2

The only question here was going to be by how much the Slovenes lost. Mitch Marner had an assist on the second of Nate MacKinnon’s hat trick of goals to make it 5-0 in the second. He liked that so much he scored the next one himself to make it 6-1.

You can see both goals in the highlight video below. One is a very Mitch pass cross-crease, and the goal is right out of the OHL playbook.

France won big over Finland 5-1

This was a bad, boring, dull and tedious game for the first two periods.

France was missing their best player with an illness, leaving them with Antoine Roussel and Pierre-Édouard Bellemare as the backbone of the top unit and the team.

The active French team, who played every second with verve and élan and any other word we’ve taken from the French language, looked like they were they to play hockey.

The Finns deserved adjectives like bad, boring and dull. They skated listlessly around, and captain Valtteri Filppula spent a lot of time in the penalty box. One of his penalties came on a decent scoring chance with Miro Aaltonen in the crease, creating havoc. Play whistled dead.

The fist two French goals came when Sebastian Aho got his pocket picked heading up ice, and the third was a tip on a power play because Finland couldn’t stop taking penalties.

With the score at 3-1 Finland’s coach Lauri Marjamäki had to do something. This is the same coach that led the Finnish team to a disastrous result at the World Cup of Hockey where they only scored one goal all tournament.

Marjamäki decided to put Jesse Puljujärvi in the game for the first time. Puljujärvi had been given the dressed, but not played treatment for both games. Aaltonen was taking his spot on the top line, which is not a substitution I would make.

It’s not clear why Puljujärvi was getting this treatment, but when the desperate coach put him in, he instantly became the best player on the ice, getting scoring chances on his first two shifts, and playing like he not only knew how, he wanted to make the effort.

One kid on his 19th birthday is not going to win the game for you, however. Roussel grabbed the puck just after a faceoff and streaked up the ice and buried it. 4-1 France. The Finns are the team that fired their entire coaching staff mid-tournament at the WJC, so Marjamäki should be nervous.

Add an empty net goal and the game was all done but the awards and the stirring singing of La Marseillaise by the players and the crowd. But before they could sing about revolution and patriotism, on election day no less, there was a small revolution on the ice.

As the crowd chanted Hardy, Hardy for Florian Hardy, the French goalie who withstood 42 shots, 20 in the the third period, and made spectacular saves to secure the win, Bellemare was named player of the game. At first he refused to go up and get his watch. Then he finally did and told the man giving it out he would not take it and gestured for Hardy. Justice was restored in a very French way, and Florian Hardy was given his due. Vive la France.

The rest of today’s games involve lower ranked teams. Tomorrow’s action has all three Leafs on the ice, starting with Canada’s game at 10:15 a.m. Eastern Time.