They don't give out an "MVP of the first weekend" at the IIHF World Championship, but If they did, Artemi Panarin might run away with it.
Panarin followed up his shootout goal against Sweden last Friday with a pair of four-point performances -- against Italy on Saturday and Germany today. The Russians tallied six power-play goals in their 10-1 thrashing of the Italians, and Panarin had a hand in four of them, scoring two and assisting on two more. Then, against the host country, Panarian collected a quartet of assists in Russia's 6-3 win.
Those performances give Panarin nine points through the first three games of the tournament, two ahead of a trio of Canadians with seven points each. Panarian will look to continue his torrid run when Russia returns to action on Thursday against a Denmark squad that currently sits at the bottom of Group A.
For Team USA, forward Nick Schmaltz tallied a pair of assists in a 7-2 victory over Denmark on Sunday. Today against Sweden, Schmaltz left the game after taking a hit early in the first period and did not return to action in the Americans' 4-3 win. Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk saw action in both games, recording a shot on goal against Denmark and playing 10:56 against Sweden.
Marcus Kruger and Sweden defeated Germany 7-2 on Saturday, with Kruger picking up an assist on Linus Omark's go-ahead goal in the second period. In the loss to the U.S. today, Kruger won four faceoffs and registered two shots on goal. Kruger and the Swedes will look to bounce back on Thursday when they face a Latvia squad that has remained undefeated through two games.
Meanwhile in Paris, Michal Kempny and the Czech Republic picked up a pair of victories against Belarus and Finland. Kempny notched the final goal in the Czechs' 6-1 victory over Belarus and spent 21:09 on the ice in a 4-3 comeback win against Finland. The Czech Republic will next take the ice on Thursday against Norway.