World Juniors: Sweden dumps Russia, advances to second straight final


Tre Kronor is back again.

That was the story out of Ufa on Thursday, as Team Sweden advanced to its second consecutive World Junior Championship final by defeating Russia 3-2 in a shootout.

With the win, Sweden will now face the U.S. in the gold medal game for a chance to capture consecutive titles after going 31 years without winning it all.

Montreal prospect Sebastian Collberg scored the decisive shootout winner after the Russians overcame a two-goal deficit to send the game to extra time.

Elias Lindholm and Filip Forsberg — Washington’s first-round selection at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft — scored the goals for Sweden, while Andrei Mironov and Sabres first-rounder Mikhail Grigorenko replied for Russia.

The Russians staged an impressive comeback, but will look back on a dismal first period as their undoing.

They were out-shot 14-2 in the opening frame — it took Russia nearly 15 minutes to get its first shot on goal — and allowed Sweden to score twice in the first 10 minutes.

As mentioned earlier, Sweden will now face the U.S. in the gold medal game on Saturday, Jan. 5 (7:30 a.m. ET). Sweden is the defending champ while the U.S. last won gold in 2010.

Of note, this will mark the first time in World Junior Championships history these two nations have met in the final.

Related: Team USA gets payback, beats Canada 5-1; Will play for gold Saturday

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.

Bruins put Morrow on IR, bring up Cross

Brady Skjei, Joe Morrow
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Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.

CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.

With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:

Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.

Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.

Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.

The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?