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WHC UPDATE: Seven in the Semis

Heated rivalries take center stage for semifinal showdowns

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

The World Championships enter the final weekend of the year and seven Flyers are in the mix for gold with three of the four countries still standing.

FINLAND IS IN

In the first Quarterfinal, USA took on Valtteri Filppula and Finland, who walked away with a 2-0 shutout victory despite being outshot, 26-20, including 12-5 in the third period. 

Filppula recorded one shot on goal, which came off a 2-on-1 rush with Sebastien Aho, but was denied by USA goaltender, Jimmy Howard. 

Harri Sateri earned his first shutout of the tournament for the Fins, while Filppula logged 17:18 of ice time in the win.

 

SWEDES BEAT THE SWISS

Finland will now take on their heated rivals in Sweden, who earned a 3-1 win over Switzerland, who went unbeaten in regulation (5-0-2) in the preliminary round.

Joining the team from his playoff exit, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped 26 of 27 shots while Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander posted a goal and an assist in the victory.

The game was the only one in which no members of the Flyers were represented.

Game time between Finland and Sweden is 1:15 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon and can been seen on the NHL Network.

 

RUSSIA BLANKS CZECH

On the other side of the bracket, Team Russia's high powered offense, combined with their stingy defense came up with a 3-0 shutout win over the Czech Republic.

Rookie d-man, Ivan Provorov recorded one shot on goal and logged 14:04 of ice time in the win. Tampa Bay goaltender, Andre Vasilevskiy, stopped all 27 shots for his third shutout of the tournament and his Lightning teammate, Nikita Kucherov, recorded a goal and an assist.

For the Czechs, Jakub Voracek logged 18:23 of ice time, but was held without a shot for the first time in the tournament, while defenseman Radko Gudas recorded four shots on goal (all in the first period) and logged 17:05 of ice time in the loss. 

Following the game, the three best Czech players of the tournament were named by the IIHF with Voracek & Gudas being two of the three players.

Russia led all teams in the preliminary round with 35 goals-for, while being tied for the lead with Canada for fewest goals allowed (10). Russia will now face the Canadians in the Semis, renewing a heated rivalry throughout their history in international hockey.

 

CANADA PUSHES THROUGH

Canada fired a total of 50 shots on Germany and scored only twice, but it was enough to get by the host country with a 2-1 win.

German goaltender, Philipp Grubauer, who serves as back up for the Washington Capitals, stopped 48 shots in the loss while Colorado's Calvin Pickard made 19 saves in the win for Canada.

All five Flyers on Canada were a part of the victory with Claude Giroux firing a team-high six shots on goal, while Sean Couturier led all Flyers with 17:19 of ice time.

Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and Giroux are all part of Canada's lethal power play, which is operating at 44.8 percent in the tournament thus far, going 13-for-29.

"We played really well," said Simmonds to the IIHF website. "If there was anything we needed to do differently, it was put a few more pucks in the back of the net. We did what we wanted to do and played a strong game for sixty minutes and, like I said, we just needed to score a few more goals."

If there's any team hotter on the man advantage than Canada, its the team they about to face. Russia is over 50 percent on the power play (51.8%).

Game time is set for 9:15 a.m. ET on Saturday morning and can be seen on the NHL Network.

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