UPDATE: After disappointment in the Sochi Olympics, the Russians finished the IIHF World Championships with a perfect 10-0 record and a gold medal victory. Russia ousted Finland 5-2 in the gold medal game on Sunday in Minsk, and two Blue Jackets were part of the championship-winning squad.
Bobrovsky turned away 24 shots en route to a championship for Russia that also included Blue Jackets' center Artem Anisimov, who was key part of the win, playing in all scenarios and logging big minutes at center ice. Bobrovsky finished the tournament with an 8-0-0 record, 1.38 GAA and a .947 save percentage.
After scoring their opening goal with three seconds left in the first period, the Finns took a 2-1 lead during the second period. But, the remainder of the period saw a goal by Alex Ovechkin, followed by 5-on-3 power play goal by Evgeni Malkin which helped the Russians tie the game and then take a 3-2 lead. Two more goals in the third period iced the game and a gold medal for Russia (their fourth in the last seven IIHF World Championships), but the balanced defense and goaltending by Bobrovsky gave Team Russia a chance to win, and ultimately, finish the tournament without a blemish.
UPDATE: The Russians are on to the IIHF World Championship final. Just another day at the rink and another win for Bobrovsky, Anisimov and Russia, who improved to 9-0 in the tournament with their 3-1 semifinal victory over Sweden. Bobrovsky's 22 saves on Saturday put his GAA at 1.00 and save percentage at .955, and improved his record in the tournament to a perfect 7-0-0. Artem Anisimov won the player of the game honors for Russia, and he's been particularly good in the team's last few games.
Nineteen seconds into the game, though, Russia would trail for the first time during the tournament. Sweden put themselves on the board first when Oscar Moller scored five-hole against Bobrovsky, but the Russians scored three unanswered goals and were able to survive and advance. It cannot be understated how good Bobrovsky was in this game; he made a handful of 10-bell saves that left Swedish shooters shaking their heads, which is something we've all become accustomed to seeing.
Team Russia is off to the finals, where they will face the winner of Czech Republic-Finland, which takes place Saturday afternoon. The gold medal game will take place on Sunday at 2 p.m. Eastern Time.
UPDATE: Surprise, surprise...another win for Bobrovsky and Russia is moving on to the semifinal round of the 2014 IIHF World Hockey Championship. He was between the pipes for a 3-0 shutout win over France this afternoon in Minsk, and Bobrovsky is now 6-0-0 in net for Russia in the tournament. With the win and shutout, Bobrovsky's already-gaudy numbers have taken another dip; his GAA now stands right around 1.25 with a save percentage of .955.
Anisimov scored his first goal of the tournament in the first period, and it stood up as the game-winning tally.
Russia will face the winner of Sweden-Belarus (going on Thursday afternoon) in the semifinal round. Tim Erixon and Sweden will look to knock the host nation out of the tournament with a quarterfinal victory.
UPDATE: Bob is a man on fire right now at the IIHF World Championship. Like, seriously. He has started five of Russia's seven games so far in the tournament, racking up a 5-0 record, 1.20 goals-against average (yeah, that's real) and a .948 save percentage. He's been the Russians' best player in the tournament and if you try to argue that, well, good luck. Russia stormed into the quarterfinal round and has to be considered the team to beat, and considering they've only allowed seven goals in seven games, any opponent will have a tough task to knock them out.
The quarterfinal round gets underway tomorrow in Minsk, Belarus, and Russia is matched up against the upstart French team. France pulled off a stunning preliminary round upset of Canada, a shootout victory backstopped by former NHL goaltender Cristobal Huet. Talk about a blast from the past.
Anisimov has three assists in seven games with a +4 rating, and he's been counted on to play in all situations throughout the tournament.
UPDATE: Sweden is also moving on to the quarterfinal round and will face Belarus tomorrow afternoon in Minsk. Erixon has picked up two assists in seven games for the Swedes along with a +3 rating. He's averaging just over 18 minutes per game, as well.
UPDATE: Bobrovsky will make his third start of the tournament today, as Russia takes on Kazakhstan in preliminary round action. That game is coming up later this afternoon in Minsk. With a win, Russia improves to 4-0-0 at the World Championship and could put itself in pole position for the next round.
UPDATE: Sweden picked up another win at the World Championship today, and it was a closer-than-it-probably-should-have-been 2-1 victory over Norway. The Norwegians made the Swedes earn every bit of it (if you watched the last two Olympics, this probably isn't much of a surprise) but the better team was able to scratch out a win. Erixon picked up an assist - his second of the tournament - to give him two points in four games for Sweden.
UPDATE: The Russians, playing their second game in as many days, gave Bobrovsky the day off when they faced Team USA in their third preliminary round game in Belarus on Monday - but as it turned out, they didn't need him. Russia won 6-1 behind Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Andrei Vasilevskiy, who was fantastic in net, thwarting nearly every U.S. chance and almost singlehandedly killing off a length 5-on-3 for the Americans. Russia improved to 3-0-0 in the opening round of the tournament, while the U.S. dropped to 2-1-0. Also in this game, Anisimov picked up an assist on Russia's opening goal just six minutes in.
UPDATE: Another win for the Russians on Sunday, and another solid performance by Bobrovsky between the pipes. Bobrovsky made 34 saves on 36 shots from Finland, which has (until Sunday) dominated the Russians at the World Championship. Finland threw everything it had at Russia and had the ice tilted on several occasions, but Bobrovsky was there with an answer time after time.
Russia faces Team USA in a big preliminary round game - both teams currently sit at 2-0 - on Monday afternoon. The game begins at 1:45 p.m. ET and will be aired live on the NBC Sports Network. Media reports say Bobrovsky is likely to get the day off today in favor of Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Andrei Vasilevskiy.
UPDATE: Blue Jackets prospect Thomas Larkin is suiting up for Italy at this year's World Championship, and most recently, his team picked up a big 2-1 win over France (who upset Canada earlier in the tournament). The 23-year-old defenseman, who saw time this season with the Springfield Falcons and Evansville IceMen, has recorded one assist through two games for Team Italy.
UPDATE: Blue Jackets defenseman Tim Erixon, competing for his native Sweden in the World Championship, has recorded one assist through two games. The Swedes have won both of their preliminary round games so far (3-0 over Denmark and a 4-3 overtime win against the Czech Republic) and now face Norway tomorrow.
While the topic du jour at the IIHF World Championship was France's comeback shootout victory over Canada (yes, that happened), the Russians opened with a resounding win over the Swiss.
At the heart of the 5-0 win for Russia was Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who was excellent in his tournament debut. Bobrovsky made 27 saves in his first career appearance at the World Championship, and he played a key role in a dominating win for Russia.
It was an onslaught from the start, too, as Russia scored three times in the opening period to take a commanding lead. They were on the board only 14 seconds into the game on a goal from Sergei Plotnikov, and captain Alex Ovechkin made it 2-0 six minutes later.
Whenever the Swiss - last year's World Championship silver medalists - pushed and started to take momentum back, Bobrovsky was there to shut the door. He was named player of the game by the tournament committee.
Next up for Russia is a Mothers Day showdown against Finland.