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Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 6:15 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Ristolainen's OT winner gives Finland WJC gold

Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen scored 9:42 into overtime to give Finland a dramatic 3-2 victory against Sweden in the gold-medal game of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship before 12,023 on Sunday at Malmo Arena in Malmo, Sweden.

Ristolainen, a first-round pick (No. 8) of the Buffalo Sabres last June, collected a pass from captain Teuvo Teravainen along the right-wing wall inside the opposing blue line and curled toward the cage before tucking a backhand underneath goalie Oscar Dansk to give Finland its third WJC title and first since 1998.

"I saw that they played man-on-man defense in their own end," Ristolainen told the IIHF website. "It was empty in front of the net. I just skated there. I tried to put the puck somewhere hard and it went in."

Teravainen, a first-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012, led the tournament with 13 assists and 15 points. He notched three assists on Sunday.

Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 5:36 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

2015 World Junior brackets announced

The pools for both Group A and Group B of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Montreal and Toronto were revealed on Sunday at the conclusion of the 2014 tournament in Malmo, Sweden.

The 11-day tournament will run Dec. 26 through Jan. 5, 2015. It will be the 11th time Canada has hosted the event, but the first time it will come to Toronto. Montreal hosted in 1978.

In Group A, Canada will play the preliminary round at Bell Centre in Montreal along with defending champion Finland, the United States, Slovakia and Germany.

In Group B, 2014 silver medalist Sweden will join bronze-medalist Russia, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Denmark at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Norway, which lost a best-of-3 series to Germany in the 2014 WJC relegation round, will play in the Division I Group A in 2015.

The schedule will be determined at a later date.

Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 5:26 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Captain Staal out for Hurricanes against Predators

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes will be without captain Eric Staal on Sunday night against the Nashville Predators, and perhaps for five or six days, according to Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller.

Staal, who is missing just his second game since the start of the 2010-11 season, left the game Saturday night against the New York Islanders in the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return. The Carolina captain might have initially sustained the injury Thursday night against the Washington Capitals.

The Hurricanes have recalled forward Aaron Palushaj from the Charlotte Checkers to fill Staal's spot in the lineup, although Palushaj will play on the wing.

Without Staal and injured center Riley Nash, the Hurricanes will piece together their lineup down the middle. Muller said he is likely to rely on Tuomo Ruutu and Jeff Skinner, who both have played center for Carolina. Over the past three games, the Hurricanes have often used three centers and four sets of wingers.

Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 5:16 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Sweden's Forsberg named MVP at WJC

Rasmus Ristolainen, who scored the golden goal midway through overtime to give Finland a 3-2 victory against Sweden in the gold medal game at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship on Sunday, was also awarded the Directorate Award for best defenseman at the 11-day event.

Ristolainen finished the tournament with three goals and a plus-1 rating in five games. He was sidelined early in the tournament with the flu, but certainly made up for lost time when it mattered most as the Finns celebrated their first gold medal since 1998.

The Directorate's Most Valuable Player Award and Top Forward Award were given to Sweden center Filip Forsberg, who finished with four goals, 12 points and a plus-3 rating. The Nashville Predators prospect is the first Swede to be honored as an MVP since the awards were introduced in 2004.

Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 2:51 PM

By Derek Van Diest - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Eberle returns to Oilers' top line

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers (13-26-5) are shaking up their top line in an effort to snap a four-game losing skid.

Jordan Eberle returns to the Oilers' lineup Sunday against the Tampa Bay Lightning (25-12-4) at Rexall Place and will skate alongside Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the top line.

Eberle missed the 5-2 loss against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday with a knee injury he sustained the previous game in a collision with San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture.

"I just tried to step up and hit him and I felt my knee tweak a bit," Eberle said. "I think because of the adrenaline of the game I felt alright to play [and finish the game]. The next day was when it hit me and it was really sore. It's tough to sit out, but I'm happy to be back."

Prior to the injury, Eberle had been playing on the Oilers second line with Sam Gagner and Nail Yakupov.

Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 1:50 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sharks look to copy Hawks' style as they visit Chicago

CHICAGO – A few years ago, the Chicago Blackhawks made no secret of their goal to become a franchise just like the Detroit Red Wings.

After winning the Stanley Cup twice in the past four seasons, they've accomplished that goal. Other teams are now striving to be young, fast and high-powered at both ends of the rink, just like them.

The San Jose Sharks are one of those teams. San Jose (26-10-8) is in town to face the Blackhawks on Sunday night at United Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN) and coach Todd McLellan isn't coy about who sets the NHL's standard bar for excellence.

"They have to be the bar," McLellan said of the Blackhawks. "You don't win two out of [four] and not be the bar. So, whether they like it or not, and I'm sure they do like it, they are the bar. That comes with success. That comes with expectations. Teams will try and emulate their plan, the way they've built, the way they carry themselves and the way they execute on the ice, because it's been proven to be successful."

The Sharks in particular are one of those teams that appear to be emulating what makes Chicago tick. They even have two members of the Blackhawks roster that won the Stanley Cup in 2010: goalie Antti Niemi and forward Adam Burish.

Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 1:00 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Letang, Malkin return for Penguins

PITTSBURGH – All-Stars Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin will return to the Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday at Consol Energy Center.

After missing the first nine games of the season with a lower-body injury, Letang was sidelined for an additional 10 games after sustaining an upper-body injury against the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 13.

"I told him [coach Dan Bylsma] I felt good," Letang said after Pittsburgh's Saturday practice. "It's the coach's decision. Every time you practice, you become more confident out there and more comfortable.

Despite participating in Pittsburgh's Friday morning skate, Letang was ruled out for its game against the New York Rangers. He returned to his pairing with Rob Scuderi and his position on the top power-play unit during practice on Saturday at Consol Energy Center.

After being considered a game-time decision earlier in the day, star center Evgeni Malkin will also return to the lineup Sunday afternoon after missing nine games with an injury. Malkin has been out since hurting his left leg Dec. 14 against the Detroit Red Wings.

Malkin collected a goal and two assists against Detroit before falling awkwardly into the boards and appeared to favor his leg after the collision. Despite missing three weeks, Malkin still ranks fifth in the NHL with 32 assists and 16th with 41 points.
Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 10:54 AM

By Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Staal could be out for Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes returned to Raleigh Saturday night following a 3-2 road win against the New York Islanders, extending their winning streak to three games.

Hurricanes captain Eric Staal left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return. The Hurricanes captain has missed only one game since the start of the 2010-11 and head coach Kirk Muller gave no update on his status following Carolina's win.

The Nashville Predators lost 5-4 to the Florida Panthers in a shootout Saturday night in Sunrise, Fla. The Predators have earned points in four straight games (2-0-2).

Here are the projected lineups for the Predators and Hurricanes.

Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 8:37 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Germany wins relegation series

Germany’s Frederik Tiffels had a goal and an assist and Marvin Cupper made 34 saves as Germany beat Norway 3-1 Sunday to survive the relegation round at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Top 2014 NHL Draft prospect Leon Draisaitl had two assists and Dominik Kahun and Patrick Klopper each had a goal as Germany won the final game of the best-of-three relegation series and will take part in the 2015 WJC in Montreal and Toronto.

It will be the third straight year Germany remains at the top level of elite under-20 international hockey, the longest such streak since a run from 1992-98.

“It’s awesome," Draisaitl told the IIHF website. "It’s our goal to be a top-10 nation and that’s what we did [Sunday]. It’s going to be probably the greatest experience you’ll ever have next year, playing in Toronto and Montreal. Those are huge cities. They’re crazy about hockey. We’re just really happy about what we did today."

Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 8:19 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Sweden's Pettersson suspended for gold-medal game

Sweden forward Jesper Pettersson has been suspended by the IIHF Disciplinary Panel for the gold-medal game of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship on Sunday against Finland (1 p.m ET, NHLN-US).

Pettersson was suspended for leaving the penalty box to engage in an altercation with a Russian player during Sweden’s 2-1 win against Russia in the semifinals on Saturday.

Pettersson had been in the penalty box after being whistled for slashing with 19 seconds left in the game. When the final buzzer sounded, Pettersson left the penalty box and entered a scrum along the wall. Pettersson grabbed Russia’s Andrei Mironov and the pair began exchanging punches.

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