Tag: game recaps

Sweden v Finland - 2011 IIHF World Championship

2011 IIHF World Championships: Finland tops Sweden for gold, Czechs take brozne

Voters named Swedish goalie Viktor Fasth the MVP of the 2011 World Championships tournament right in time for him to allow five Finland goals in the third period. Call it a curse or a coincidence, but either way, Finland dominated that final frame to win their first gold medal since 1995. They beat Sweden in that final game as well, which was their first ever gold in the World Championships.

Finland 6, Sweden 1; Finland wins gold medal.

Petteri Nokelainen began that third period scoring frenzy with a breakaway goal to give the Finns a 2-1 lead. Niko Kapanen made it 3-1 just 46 seconds later. Finland buried any hope of a Swedish comeback later on in the third when Janne Pesonen and Mika Pyorala scored 35 seconds apart while Antti Pihlstrom scored in the final minute to make it 6-1.

The Swedes could have taken a 1-0 lead into the second intermission, but David Petrasek took a hooking penalty with 30 seconds left. That ended up being an inopportune infraction as Jarrko Immonen tied it up in the dying seconds.

If you count that Immonen goal, the Finns crushed the Swedes with two three-goal bursts, with the first set taking about four minutes and the second taking about five. Magnus Paajarvi scored Sweden’s only goal in this contest.

Though you won’t confuse the Finns with Kristen Wiig, they have qualified as bridesmaids in the World Championships going into today’s contest. NHL.com points out that the Finns are tied with Canada (and Sweden) for the most gold medal round losses since their last title in ’95.

Czech Republic 7, Russia 4; Czech Republic wins bronze

The Czechs fell short of matching their 2010 gold medal, but beating Russia for the bronze isn’t a bad  consolation prize.

Roman Cervenka scored a hat trick, Petr Prucha found the net twice while Jan Marek and Tomas Plekanec also scored to lead the Czech Republic to another victory against Russia. The Czechs forced Russia to settle for the silver last year and left their rivals without a medal of any kind in 2011. Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice while Dmitri Kulikov and Vladimir Tarasenko found the twine once in a losing cause.

Rivalry rekindled: Sweden, Finland will fight for 2011 World Championships gold medal


Surely their rivalry is more intense than the image in my mind’s eye, but whenever I think of the Swedish-Finnish feud, I think of the battle between cats and dogs. Yes, their battles are heated, yet they’re also kind of … cute.

Whether you agree or disagree with that sentiment, each country has entered the inner circle of great hockey nations. The Finns do it with more of a “worker bee” mentality while the Swedes provide greater high-end artistry, but both sides have built up a nice tradition of success in international competition.

With that in mind, it just makes sense that they’ll face each other in the gold medal game of the 2011 World Championships tournament.

The Swedes reached the final round by beating the defending 2010 champion Czech Republic by a score of 5-2 while Finland blanked Alex Ovechkin* and the powerful Russians 3-0. Russia and the Czech Republic will duke it out for the bronze.

Patrik Berglund scored twice while Mikael Backlund, Jimmie Ericsson and Marcus Kruger provided one goal each for Sweden, with Patrik Elias scoring the two Czech goals. Viktor Fasth stopped 35 out of 37 shots for the win while Ondrej Pavelec made 43 saves in defeat.

Mikael Granlund scored what might be the goal of the year with his lacrosse-style scoop while Jani Lajunen and Jarkko Immonen also connected for Finland. Petri Vehanen earned a 30-save shutout while Konstantin Barulin went 26 for 29 in the loss.

We’ll keep you up to date as the hockey world’s other big tournament comes to a close.

* – It doesn’t look like Ovechkin did any extra damage to an injured knee that made me think he should sit out the tournament, but he went without a point in his four games. So, quite literally, his presence was rather pointless.

Ryan Kesler, Canucks grind their way to Western Conference finals with 2-1 win vs. Predators

Mike Fisher, Ryan Kesler
1 Comment

For most of this series, the focus revolved around what the Vancouver Canucks couldn’t do. They couldn’t get results from the Sedin twins. Some misguided media members thought that Roberto Luongo couldn’t win big games. With a 1-4 record in elimination games coming into tonight, there were many who wondered if this team lacks a killer instinct.

In many cases in which a favorite struggles, the underdog’s problems tend to go unreported. Ultimately, the Nashville Predators were booted from the second round of the playoffs because they couldn’t score on the power play, couldn’t get results from some of their big guns and couldn’t beat the Canucks at home.

Perhaps most of all, they couldn’t stop Ryan Kesler. (Kesler ended up with 11 points in the series and was strong defensively as well.)

Vancouver 2, Nashville 1; Canucks win series 4-2.

There’s some dark humor to the fact that the Predators were ultimately undone by a power-play goal that resulted from a diving penalty. After all, Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa called out his own team for embellishing calls against the Preds, yet Nashville was betrayed by the NHL’s renewed emphasis on those penalties. Daniel Sedin ended up scoring what would be the series-winning goal on that first period man advantage to make it 2-0.

Kesler received credit for an assist on that play, but his greatest effort came on the first goal of the contest. The all-everything forward took advantage of a lethargic play by Ryan Suter, who made a predictable pass to Shea Weber that Kesler forced into a turnover. Kesler eventually sent the puck to Mason Raymond, who scored his first goal of the playoffs.

That 2-0 first period lead would stand through the whole game, as the Predators were only able to score another weird goal from behind Roberto Luongo’s net. David Legwand continued his great run with that tally, which survived the goal review process.

The Predators have some reason to complain about the Jordin Tootoo penalty that lead to that Daniel Sedin goal, but still must accept the fact that they couldn’t overcome a two-goal deficit from the first period. They failed to score on five power play opportunities and rarely threatened on any of those chances.

With all the heat sent toward the Sedin twins, the Predators’ most explosive players struggled mightily as well. Sergei Kostitsyn earned one assist in the entire series while Patric Hornqvist went without a single point. Perhaps most disturbingly, Norris-level defenseman Shea Weber went pointless in this series, as well. You can’t really fault him for a lack of effort (six shots in Game 6, consistently feisty defense throughout the series), but Weber was tied with Hornqvist for third place in team scoring with 48 points in 2010-11. They expect more from him, even if they generally ask for too much.

Outlook for both teams

The Canucks can sit back and watch the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks slug it out in one or two more games. Vancouver played 13 games so far this postseason, so getting a brief break could be very useful for a weary team. There’s been a lot of criticism sent their way, yet they continue to earn accolades. Perhaps the most interesting recent milestone is that they reached the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1994, when Pavel Bure was captivating hockey fans all over the world.

I get the feeling that the Sedin twins will have a little more room to operate in the next round, regardless of which team they face. They’ll need it, too, because Kesler might not be able to carry the offense alone against a more powerful opponent.

The Predators have a lot of positives to take from this defeat. They made the second round for the first time ever and also survived one elimination game (another franchise first). Nashville played Vancouver tough even if they frequently trailed in puck possession and scoring chances.

The challenge will be to add creativity to their blue collar approach. Their power play was ineffective and many of their goals were fluky in this series. If they want to be more than just a charming story, they’ll need to find a way to take that next step. At some point, fans and pundits might not be so patient with their slow-but-steady approach.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!