Antoine Roussel

IIHF Today: Watch quarterfinals online, broadcast schedule

The 2014 World Championship playoffs are about to begin and you’ll be able to watch all of the contests live, courtesy of NBCSports.com. For certain games, there will also be an encore performance on NBCSN.

If you want to watch any of today’s quarterfinals contests, but aren’t sure where to go, just follow the corresponding links below:

United States versus Czech Republic — 9:00 a.m. ET start (CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE)

Neither of these countries had the showing in the Olympics that they were hoping for, but this tournament is a chance for the nations to rebound. This is also a nice opportunity to see one of the United States’ top prospects in John Gaudreau. The 20-year-old forward will attempt to establish himself with the Calgary Flames in 2014-15 after finishing his successful tenure with Boston College, but for now he’s dominating in the World Championship with two goals and 10 points in seven games.

Russia versus France — 10 a.m. ET start (CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE)

Russia’s another team that underwhelmed in the Olympics, meanwhile France is this tournament’s Cinderella Story. The French kicked things off with a stunning shootout win over Canada and they went on to also beat Slovakia, Norway, and Denmark. They also finished within a goal of Sweden and the Czech Republic. Dallas Stars enforcer Antoine Roussel has been one of the tournament’s top performers, leading France with six goals and 11 points in seven games.

It’s worth adding that Alex Ovechkin, who suffered an injury that initially looked serious, is good to return, per Sport-Express’ Slava Malamud.

Canada versus Finland — 1 p.m. ET start (CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE or view it on NBCSN)

As mention above, Canada started the tournament with a loss to France, but they haven’t been defeated since and they consequently still ended up with the top seed in Group A. Finland hasn’t been nearly as successful as they lost to Latvia, Russia, and the United States during the round robin phase.

Buffalo Sabres forward Cody Hodgson has been leading the charge for Canada with six goals and eight points in seven contests.

Sweden versus Belarus — 2 p.m. ET start (CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE)

Like France, the fact that Belarus has made it this far is a rare accomplishment for the country. In fact, this represents just the fourth time that the nation has made it into the top eight. KHL goaltender Kevin Lalande deserves a fair amount of the credit for their success with his 0.66 GAA and .964 save percentage in four games.

Sharks swarm in the third period, take down Predators in Game 1

1 Comment

For two periods, the San Jose Sharks couldn’t solve Pekka Rinne.

Maybe it was because of that black cat that found its way on to the ice prior to the start of Friday’s game, or the video review that didn’t go in San Jose’s favor in the opening period.

But that all changed in the final period. It started with Tomas Hertl on the power play finding room just under the glove of Rinne to get San Jose on the board. Joel Ward followed that up with a gorgeous deke, tucking the puck in behind Rinne just as he started to go behind the net, as San Jose was able to take advantage of a defensive breakdown.

Logan Couture added the eventual winner. Within the span of 13 minutes, the Sharks had completely taken over, cashing in on two Nashville penalties and a defensive lapse.

When the onslaught was over, the Sharks skated off with a 5-2 win in Game 1 of this second-round series with the Predators, who only wrapped up a seven-game series win over Anaheim on Wednesday.

Ryan Johansen made it interesting, cutting into San Jose’s lead with under two minutes remaining, but any further comeback attempt was quickly halted by a pair of empty net goals from the Sharks.

The game ended with a dust-up along the boards, before cooler heads did prevail.

Another North Dakota junior goes pro as Blackhawks sign Luke Johnson

Quinnipiac forward Tommy Schutt, left, moves the puck as North Dakota forward Luke Johnson, middle, checks Quinnipiac forward Travis St. Denis during the first period of an NCAA college hockey tournament game Friday, March 27, 2015, in Fargo, N.D. North Dakota won 4-1. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy)
AP Photo
Leave a comment

Another day, another University of North Dakota player deciding to enter the professional hockey ranks.

This time, it was 21-year-old forward Luke Johnson who turned pro following his junior year, as he signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.

In 43 games with the NCAA champs this season, Johnson scored 11 goals and 21 points, just shy of his college career high of 24 points set the previous year.

Johnson will forgo his senior year at North Dakota, making him the fourth member of that program’s junior class to turn pro since the end of the season. Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks, Troy Stecher inked with the Vancouver Canucks and Paul LaDue signed with the L.A. Kings.

Senior forward Drake Caggiula, now a free agent, has reportedly narrowed down his list of NHL suitors to six teams.

Brock Boeser, Vancouver’s 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.

Video: Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1

4 Comments

Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of bad luck to come, but for which team?

Prior to puck drop between the host San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Friday, a black cat hit the ice at SAP Center, taking a nervous stroll along the boards.

Not sure exactly where it came from, although it’s possible someone was feeling extra superstitious before the start of this series.

Official update on the really important story of the evening:

Speed, skill help Stars score late victory to take series lead over Blues

1 Comment

The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.

Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.

As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.

The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.

Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.

Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.