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The Daily Planet

by Mike Vogel / Washington Capitals
Friday’s action at the 2008 IIHF World Championship in Quebec City will determine which teams play for the bronze medal on Saturday and which will face-off for the gold on Sunday. The Capitals have at least one representative on all four remaining teams.

In Friday’s early contest (1 p.m.), Russia takes on Finland. The two teams met in the semifinals last spring in Moscow, with Finland authoring a surprising 2-1 upset win in overtime. An entire Russian forward line is comprised of Capitals: Alex Ovechkin, Sergei Fedorov and Alexander Semin. Finland is represented by Caps defenseman Sami Lepisto, whose overtime goal against Team USA on Wednesday landed the Finns in the semis.

This afternoon’s semi-final match-up (5 p.m.) features Canada and Sweden. Caps defenseman Mike Green skates for the Canadians while Washington’s Calder Trophy nominee Nicklas Backstrom centers for the Swedes.

The two losing teams in Friday’s action will battle it out for the bronze at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The winners will have a day to prepare for Sunday’s 1 p.m. gold medal game, the final contest of the tournament.

Backstrom Named Best –
Backstrom was named Team Sweden’s top player in Sweden’s 3-2 overtime win over the Czech Republic in Wednesday’s quarterfinal game. Backstrom had an assist in that game and his 23:56 in ice time led all forwards on both teams.

Sami Stuns Uncle Sam –
Lepisto’s shot from the right point 3:59 into overtime pushed Finland past Team USA and into its semifinal match with Russia. The goal was the first of the tournament for Lepisto, who got his feet wet in seven NHL games with Washington during the 2007-08 regular season.

You can watch all the World Championship action streamed live at

Here is an update on how the Capitals’ participants in the tournament are faring.

Alex Ovechkin (Russia) – He has six goals and nine points is plus-8 in seven games while averaging 17:03 in ice time. Ovechkin was named his team’s best player in last Saturday’s game against Sweden. He scored the game-winner with six seconds remaining to give Russia a 3-2 win in that contest. Ovechkin is tied for second among all tournament participants in goals, he is tied for seventh in scoring and is tied for ninth in plus/minus.

Alexander Semin (Russia) –
Was named best Russian player for the game in his team’s 7-1 win over Italy. Semin had two goals and an assist and was a plus-4 in that game. Overall, Semin has four goals, nine points and is plus-8 while skating an average of 18:17. Semin is tied for seventh on the tournament scoring chart and is tied for ninth in plus/minus.

Sergei Fedorov (Russia) – Has four goals and nine points in seven games and is plus-8 while averaging 17.25. Fedorov was named Team Russia’s top performer in its win over Denmark. He had a goal and an assist in that game. Fedorov is tied for seventh among all tournament skaters in scoring and is tied for ninth in plus/minus.

Simeon Varlamov (Russia) – Injured in practice and sidelined for the tournament.

Nicklas Backstrom (Sweden) – Has three goals and seven points and is plus-2 in Sweden’s seven games. He has averaged 18:55 and is third on the team in scoring. With a 61.81% face-off success rate in the tournament, Backstrom ranks seventh among all players.

Mike Green (Canada) – Has three goals and eight points and is plus-1 while averaging 14:45 in seven games. Green’s eight points are tied for third among all defensemen in the tournament.

Cristobal Huet (France) –
Was named best Team France player in his team’s 4-1 loss to Switzerland. Stopped 44 of the 48 shots he faced in that game. Huet defeated Italy twice in relegation play to help keep France from being relegated to Division I play for the 2009 tournament. For the tournament, Huet was 2-3 with a 3.60 goals against average and a .911 save pct. He ranks seventh among all tournament netminders in save pct.

Tomas Fleischmann (Czech Republic) – Had two goals and five points and is plus-6 while averaging 12:31 in seven games. Fleischmann’s plus-6 is tied for 10th among all players in the tournament.

Jakub Klepis (Czech Republic) – Had an assist and was even while averaging 10:49 in four games.
Sami Lepisto (Finland) – Has a goal and two points and is plus-2 while skating an average of 12:43 in five games.

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