Canada fights back to beat Sweden at worlds

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Patrick Wiercioch tied it and Tyler Ennis scored the winner, as Canada fought back to defeat Sweden, 6-4, today at the world hockey championship in Prague.

Canada improved to 4-0-0 with the victory, while Sweden suffered its first loss of group play.

The Swedes got off to a dream start, opening a 3-0 lead in the first period. But Canada tied it with three straight of their own in the second, before the Swedes took a 4-3 lead into the third.

In the final frame, Canada’s dangerous attack just couldn’t be contained. Weircioch scored at 10:24 on a pass from Sidney Crosby. Then, less than three minutes later, on a Canadian power play, Ennis beat Anders Nilsson high on the glove side to make it 5-4.

Tyler Seguin would add an empty-netter.

Canada’s next game is Saturday versus France. Sweden takes on Germany tomorrow.

Price, Benn, Ovechkin named Lindsay Award finalists

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Dallas captain Jamie Benn, Washington captain Alex Ovechkin and Montreal goalie Carey Price have been named the nominees for this year’s Ted Lindsay Award, presented annually to the league’s Most Outstanding Player as voted by the players.

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Benn played in all 82 regular season games for the Dallas Stars in 2014-15. Benn captured the Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in points (87), which he won with a four-point game – including his second hat-trick of the season – on the final night of the regular season. 

Ovechkin played 81 games for the Washington Capitals during the 2014-15 regular season, and helped lead the Capitals back into the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Ovechkin scored 53 goals to capture his fifth Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, and he became the sixth NHL player to record six career 50-goal seasons.  

Price layed 66 games for the Montreal Canadiens during the 2014-15 regular season, and helped lead the Canadiens to the second best record in the NHL. Price led the league in wins (44), goals-against average (1.96) and save percentage (.933), which earned him finalist nominations for the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Vezina Trophy.

This is the first Lindsay nomination for both Benn and Price, while Ovechkin is looking to capture the award for the fourth time in his career. The Russian sniper last won it in 2010; he also took home the trophy in ’09 and ’08, when it was known as the Lester B. Pearson.

Interesting to note that while both Ovechkin and Price were nominated for this year’s Hart Trophy as league MVP, the third finalist — John Tavares — failed to make the cut for the Lindsay.

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U.S., Canada open with big wins at Worlds

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It was smooth sailing for the Americans and Canadians in their respective opening contests at the 2015 World Hockey Championships.

The Americans were led by a pair of goals from captain Matt Hendricks to cruise to a 5-1 win over Finland, while Canada got three point efforts from Nathan MacKinnon and Jason Spezza to beat Latvia 6-1.

Highlights from the U.S. romp:

New Nashville signee Steve Moses opened the scoring for the Americans with a great solo effort late in the first period. Nick Bonino and Dan Sexton had the other goals, while Connor Hellebuyck stopped 29 of 30 shots for the win.

Canada had five different goalscorers in its romp: MacKinnon, Spezza, Tyler Toffoli, Matt Duchene and captain Sidney Crosby, who converted on a penalty shot. It was an easy victory over a Latvian team that was woefully overmatched; the country’s lone NHLers, Zemgus Girgensons and Ronalds Kenins, aren’t participating in the tournament.

Crosby to captain Canada at Worlds

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Sidney Crosby will once again wear the “C” internationally — on Thursday, it was announced that Crosby will captain Team Canada at the upcoming World Hockey Championships in the Czech Republic.

Dallas’ Jason Spezza and Vancouver’s Dan Hamhuis will serve as alternates.

Crosby, 27, previously captained Canada to gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. He’s also twice served as an alternate for his country — once at the Worlds in 2006 (when he scored 16 points in nine games, becoming the youngest scoring champ in tourney history) and again at the ’10 Olympics in Vancouver, where he was part of a leadership group that included captain Scott Niedermayer, and fellow alternates Chris Pronger and Jarome Iginla.

Crosby famously scored the “golden goal” for Canada at those Vancouver games, potting the OT winner in the tournament finale against the United States.

Poll: Are there any worthy Hart Trophy snubs?

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Whenever you’re talking about an award that seeks to recognize the best player in the league, any decision is going to be contested. The same can be true for the list of finalists. Now that we know that Montreal’s Carey Price, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and the Islanders’ John Tavares are this year’s Hart Trophy finalists, was there anyone that deserved to be on that list that was excluded?

Below are three potential alternatives. Each of them had great seasons, but there are also understandable reasons why they didn’t make the cut. Do you agree with those reasons though?

1) Devan Dubnyk – Perhaps the most obvious snub. When the Wild acquired Dubnyk on Jan. 14, they were a struggling franchise that seemed doomed to fall short of the playoffs. Then Dubnyk posted an incredible 1.78 GAA and .936 save percentage in 39 contests to make Minnesota one of the best teams in the second half. He was likely excluded in part because he wasn’t with Minnesota for the full 2014-15 campaign and partially due to the presence of Price on the list. Goaltenders tend to be a tough sell for the Hart Trophy and having them take up two of the three slots might have been asking for too much.

2) Jamie Benn – This year’s Art Ross Trophy winner (35 goals, 87 points in 82 contests) didn’t end up warranting a spot among the Hart Trophy finalists. It’s easy to see why though: The Dallas Stars weren’t a playoff squad and MVP awards take the success of the team into consideration. Still, he had one of the best seasons out of this year’s crop of forwards.

3) Sidney Crosby – Crosby is the latest Hart Trophy winner, but he wasn’t able to defending his spot as the MVP. He took a noticeable step back offensively, going from 104 points to 84 in 77 contests in 2014-15. His team’s struggles in the second half of the campaign likely didn’t do him any favors either. He had a great season though with his 84-point total being good enough for third in the league’s scoring race.