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2012 IIHF World Championship

US stuns defending-champion Finland

Sunday, 05.13.2012 / 12:28 PM / 2012 IIHF World Championship


After appearing unbeatable in its first four games at the 2012 IIHF World Hockey Championship, defending champion and tournament co-host Finland followed up a 5-3 loss to Canada Friday with an unhinged and undisciplined performance against the Americans. Thanks to a goal and an assist from both Chris Butler and Max Pacioretty as well as 18 stops from Jimmy Howard, the United States shocked the Finns 5-0, sending an early-tournament favorite into a sudden and unexpected free fall.

Just two days after being pushed to overtime by an upstart Kazakhstan squad, the United States raced out to a first-period lead against the Finns and never looked back. The Americans came out flying in the opening frame, outshooting the host nation 10-4 and leading 1-0 after 20 minutes thanks to a goal from Pacioretty. The goal came just eight seconds after Kyle Palmieri and Mikko Koivu received offsetting minors, providing plenty of open space on the international ice surface in the ensuing 4-on-4 situation.

The Americans continued to overwhelm Finnish goaltender Kari Lehtonen in the second, firing 11 shots in the period and forcing the Finns into drawing a number of penalties, none costlier than Mikael Granlund's slashing call, which led to Justin Faulk's fourth goal of the tournament. The power-play marker, assisted by Pacioretty, gave the United States a commanding 3-0 lead with just 2:04 remaining in the second period.

Canada routs Kazakhstan 8-0 at World Championships

Saturday, 05.12.2012 / 4:41 PM / 2012 IIHF World Championship


Canada got two goals by defenseman Dion Phaneuf and three assists each from Duncan Keith and Ryan Getzlaf in an 8-0 rout of Kazakhstan in Helsinki on Saturday that assured the Canadians of a quarterfinal berth at the World Championship.

Devan Dubnyk stopped 24 shots for the shutout and 15 players had at least one point as Canada (5-0-1-0, 16 points) fired 58 shots at two Kazakh goalies.

"As far as scoring chances go, it was easy," Dubnyk told the IIHF's website, "but I don't know if that makes it easier to get a shutout. Anytime you can keep them all out, it's good, regardless of who the opponent is."

Phaneuf's power-play goal was the only tally in the first period. He took a pass from Getzlaf, moved in from the point and blasted a slap shot over the glove of goalie Vitali Kolesnik.

Malkin shines as brightest star on world stage

Saturday, 05.12.2012 / 11:00 AM / 2012 IIHF World Championship

Michael Langr - NHL.com Correspondent

When Jordan Staal was the leading scorer for the Pittsburgh Penguins during this year's short playoff campaign, Hart Trophy candidate Evgeni Malkin was second on the team with eight points in six games.

There is no question about who is the biggest superstar at the IIHF World Championship.

Switching Pittsburgh's No. 71 to No. 11 on the red Russian jersey, Malkin has shined above the tournament's other stars. Russia beat Sweden on Friday, and Malkin won the game almost by himself - he scored a hat-trick and added two assists in a 7-3 win over a team with twelve NHL players in the lineup.

Faulk's goal in OT gives USA win over Kazakhstan

Friday, 05.11.2012 / 5:35 PM / 2012 IIHF World Championship


Despite dominating Kazakhstan from start to finish on Friday at the 2012 IIHF World Championship, Team USA needed an overtime goal from Justin Faulk, his second tally of the game, to win 3-2 at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki.

Forced to go to overtime against a winless opponent, the United States looked to avoid the upset, outshooting the Kazakhs 8-0 in the extra period. Despite the onslaught, it appeared that overtime might solve nothing until, with 22 seconds remaining in the extra frame, Faulk managed to beat goalie Vitali Kolesnik with the OT winner.

While Faulk was the hero of the game for the United States, it was Kolesnik who stole the show as the Americans outshot their opponent by a stunning 50-19 margin.

U.S. holds off Belarus for 5-3 win at Worlds

Thursday, 05.10.2012 / 12:07 PM / 2012 IIHF World Championship


The United States let an early two-goal lead slip away against the upstart Belarusians, but a goal by Bobby Ryan at 12:10 of the third period would hold up as the eventual game-winner for the Americans, as the U.S. beat Belarus 5-3 Thursday at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki in the 2012 IIHF World Championship.

Nate Thompson gave the U.S. the lead for good on a goal with 1:39 left in the second, and Ryan potted his eventual game-winner in the third. Paul Stastny picked up a goal of his own at 15:34 of the third to give the U.S. a 5-2 lead before Belarus closed out the scoring on a goal by Yevgeni Kovyrshin with 10 seconds remaining.

The game appeared at first to be headed toward a potential blowout, as the U.S. took a lead 99 seconds into the game on a goal by Justin Abdelkader before Cam Atkinson doubled the edge just under five minutes later. Belarus wouldn't go quietly, however, as Alexei Kalyuzhny cut the lead in half later in the first period and Alexei Ugarov evened the score with a power-play goal at 2:50 of the second.

Mikhail Grabovski led Belarus with three points, all assists, while Abdelkader and Max Pacioretty each had two points for the U.S.

Finns remain unbeaten at World Championship

Tuesday, 05.08.2012 / 5:16 PM / 2012 IIHF World Championship


Valtteri Filppula scored two third-period goals in just over two minutes to seal Finland's 5-2 victory against Switzerland Tuesday, the Finns' third straight win to begin their quest to win a second consecutive IIHF World Hockey Championship. After recording shutouts over Belarus and Slovakia, Finland's stout defense was finally breached by the Swiss, who gave the Finns their first real scare of the tournament.

After Jarkko Immonen opened the scoring for Finland in the first period, Andres Ambuhl tied the game in the second for Switzerland, becoming the first player to score on Finland in the tournament. But the game wasn't tied long, with Leo Komarov scoring just 21 seconds later to help Finland regain the lead. Immonen's second of the game gave the Finns what appeared to be a comfortable lead, but Roman Wick beat Finland goaltender Kari Lehtonen with 2:16 to play in the second period, putting the Swiss back in contention.

It was in the third that Filppula took over for Finland, scoring his first of the tournament just 19 seconds after Switzerland's Goran Bezina was sent off for interference. Filppula's second goal effectively put the game away, with Jussi Jokinen earning his second assist of the game. From there, Finland's suffocating defense clamped down on the Swiss, as Lehtonen made 26 saves for the win. The victory gave Finland sole possession of first place in their group ahead of Canada, which have two wins and one overtime loss.

Slovakia stuns United States, 4-2, at Worlds

Monday, 05.07.2012 / 3:50 PM / 2012 IIHF World Championship


Andrej Sekera scored the eventual game-winner in the closing seconds of the first period and Miroslav Satan sealed the biggest upset yet of the 2012 IIHF World Championship with an empty-netter in the final minute, as Slovakia defeated the United States 4-2 Monday at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki.

It is the first loss of the tournament for the U.S., which was coming off its big overtime win against Canada on Saturday, while the win is the first of the tournament for Slovakia.

The Slovaks jumped out to a surprising 2-0 lead early in the first period, as Dominik Granak beat American goalie Jimmy Howard just 47 seconds into the game and Branko Radivojevic doubled the lead 4:17 later. The U.S. got on the board when Justin Faulk scored at 15:41 of the first, but Sekera's eventual game-winner took much of the wind out of the U.S. sails, as he put Slovakia up 3-1 with just six seconds to go before the first intermission.

The U.S. pulled within one goal late in the second, taking advantage of a two-man advantage when Paul Stastny scored to make the game 3-2, but that was as close as the Americans would get. Slovakia's Jan Laco stymied them the rest of the way, making 18 saves as the U.S. was badly outshot by a 32-20 margin and significantly hindered by a double minor for high sticking assessed to Cam Atkinson in the third period.

Finns post second straight shutout win

Sunday, 05.06.2012 / 12:47 PM / 2012 IIHF World Championship


Two days after opening the 2012 IIHF World Hockey Championship with a 1-0 win over Belarus, Finland is showing the same stout defense that led it to the gold medal last year.

Despite not having a single NHL player on their blue line, the tourney co-hosts earned their second straight shutout of the tournament. With head coach Jukka Jalonen deciding to rest starting keeper Kari Lehtonen, Petri Vehanen stopped all 26 shots he faced and Janne Pesonen scored the game's only goal to give the Finns an impressive start to their defense of the world title in a 1-0 win against Slovakia Sunday.

Considering most of the players from last year's championship roster returned this year to play in front of their home crowd, it shouldn't be terribly surprising that defense is again leading the way for Finland. Last year's team allowed a miniscule 14 goals in nine games with Vehanen posting a tournament-best .954 save percentage.

Both Vehanen and Slovakian goaltender Jan Laco were kept busy early in a first period that saw the teams combine for 21 shots. But Finland gradually slowed the game down in the second, before allowing Slovakia only three shots in the third.

Team USA beats Canada 5-4 in OT

Saturday, 05.05.2012 / 3:19 PM / 2012 IIHF World Championship


Canada has always been the team the United States has struggled to beat. On Saturday, the Americans did just that.

Jack Johnson scored at 1:47 of overtime to give the United States a 5-4 victory against Canada at the World Championships -- just the second win for the Americans against Canada at the tournament in 18 games since 1985.

"It's an easy game to get up for," Team USA goaltender Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings said. "You're having fun out there, and that's exactly what it was today -- fun. It's great to get a good start. We're now 2-0, and we just have to build off it."

Streit leads Swiss past Kazakhstan

Saturday, 05.05.2012 / 12:26 PM / 2012 IIHF World Championship


Defenseman Mark Streit scored twice and added an assist as Switzerland routed Kazakhstan 5-1 on Saturday in its opening game at the World Hockey Championships.

Reto Berra made 19 saves as the Swiss won their Group A match in Helsinki by beating newly promoted Kazakhstan in just the second meeting between the teams in tournament history.

"There are no easy games in this tournament, all teams can play. Fortunately, we got an early lead," said Streit, whose power-play goal at 11:04 of the opening period made it 2-0

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