The 2014 World Junior Championships’ “final four” have been determined on Thursday. PHT already caught you up to speed on Russia’s 3-2 win against the United States, but here’s a rundown of the other three games that determined which teams made the semifinals.
Sweden 6, Slovakia 0
Sweden’s group is being described as some as one of the best world junior teams in years. The results speak for themselves, as they’ve often dominated in going 5-0, including today’s 6-0. (In witnessing portions of the game, it seemed like 6-0 was more than a fair score … one could argue that it could have gotten even worse.)
They’re playing for a medal for the eighth consecutive work thanks to continued strong work by their bevy of hot prospects, including Elias Lindholm (Carolina first-rounder) and Filip Forsberg (Nashville first-rounder), who have already gotten their feet wet at the NHL level.
Sweden will face Russian for the right to play for the gold.
Canada 4, Switzerland 1
Griffin Reinhart had a goal and assist while Canada’s other goal scorers were Anthony Mantha, Derrick Pouliot and Curtis Lazar. Zachary Fucale stopped 19 out of 20 shots for Canada.
The Canadian Press captures Canada’s profund advantage over the Swiss over the years:
Curtis Lazar and defenceman Derrick Pouliot also scored for Canada, which is 20-0-0 and has a 130-34 goal advantage all-time against the Swiss at the world juniors.
Finland 5, Czech Republic 3
Canada’s opponent will be Finland, who came back from 3-2 deficit entering the third period to win 5-3 on Thursday. Saku Maenalanen (two goals), Rasmus Kulmala (two assists) and Teuvo Teravinen (two assists) were the multiple-point men for Finland.
So, to review, it’s Russia vs. Sweden and Canada vs. Finland in the semifinals. Should be fun.
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: Bullet dodged?