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Worlds Update: Konecny, Canada off to a hot start

Flyers participating at worlds contributing to country's success over the weekend

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

With three full days of World Championships in the books and today's early action yielding favorable results, members of the Flyers are off to a hot start.

CANADA

The Canadian team posted two wins over the weekend and is now a perfect 3-0-0 having outscored the opposition, 17-3. Canada posted wins over the Czech Republic (4-1) and Slovenia (7-2) over the weekend and, in Monday's action, they continued their dominance with a 6-0 win over Belarus.

In the opening game, Canada got out to a 2-0 lead after the first two periods, but for a preliminary opener, tensions and the competitive level were high as Flyers teammates weren't shy on rough play and some after-the-whistle scrums.

"That's Radko. That's what you love about him, so you can't pick and choose," said Flyers GM Ron Hextall of the play. "We love Radko because of the way he plays and he plays that way all the time no matter who."

Captain Claude Giroux provided two assists in the win, while Travis Konecny recorded his first ever World Championship point with an assist. Konecny is skating on what is being dubbed as the "kids line" alongside Toronto's Mitch Marner and Tampa Bay's Brayden Point. 

Konecny followed up his first game with a three-point performance in his next outing, adding three assists in the 7-2 win over Slovenia and added two helpers against Belarus in Monday's action. Konecny now has six points, all assists, in his first three games.

Claude Giroux posted a goal and an assist in the latest win, bringing his point total to five points (1g-4a) in three games. 

Wayne Simmonds had an assist in the win over Slovenia while Brayden Schenn is scoreless thus far. Sean Couturier missed the first two contests, but made his debut on Monday when he appeared in 12:55 of ice time in the win.

CZECH REPUBLIC

On the Czech side, Jakub Voracek, who is serving as captain of the Czech team, had one assist, while defenseman Radko Gudas logged 17:45 of ice time in the opening loss to Canada.

In their second outing, Voracek broke through for a three-point game with a goal and two assists.

Gudas scored his first goal of his World Championship career, which turned out to be the game-winning goal, in a 6-1 win over Belarus. He also finished as one of two players on the team with over 20 minutes of TOI.

The Czech Republic are currently 1-1-0 in the tournament and next play Finland on Monday.

 

FINLAND

Also splitting the weekend's slate are the Fins, who took a 3-2 win over Belarus on Friday, but dropped a 5-1 decision to France on Sunday.

Valtteri Filppula, who served as an alternate captain of Finland in the first game, helped set up Sebastian Aho of the Carolina Hurricanes for an assist in the contest. He served as captain of Finland in the second game, where he posted four shots on goal in the loss.

Filppula and Finland will take on Gudas, Voracek & the Czechs in the late game on Monday.

 

FRANCE

Also going 1-1-0 on the weekend was France. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare's team took a 3-2 loss to Norway in the opening game and led all French forwards with 21:11 of ice time.

Sunday was a different story as France defeated Finland for a 5-1 win. Bellemare scored the game's opening goal and recorded the primary assist to set up the second goal, which turned out to be the game-winner.

Bellemare was initially named Player of the Game by the IIHF but in a classy move, he declined and quickly gave the honor to his goaltender, Florian Hardy, who stopped 42 of 43 shots in the game including all 20 shots in the third period alone.

"It's funny people are making a big deal about it, but I think anybody that's been around here or been in the locker room with him is not surprised at all," said Flyers GM Ron Hextall. "It's the type of person he is. [Bellemare] is an A-1 pro. We wanted to keep him around because he's a great example for our younger players. Everything with [Bellemare] is team first and that's what we're all about."

France will now host Switzerland on Tuesday.

 

RUSSIA

The Russians swept the weekend slate of contests in a tale of two games. First edging Sweden in a 2-1 shootout win on Friday. The Swedes got off to a 1-0 lead, but Russia scored the equalizer midway through the third period to force overtime. 

Flyers defenseman, Ivan Provorov, contributed to the lone goal with an assist on the play. Provorov logged 19:22 of ice time in the win.

Game 2 was a different story. Russia pounced on Italy for a 10-1 win on Sunday. Provorov added his second assist of the tournament in the victory. 

Provorov continued his point streak with an assist in a 6-3 win over Germany on Monday to improve their record to 3-0-0. He initially was given credit for the goal, but it was deflected by Sergei Plotnikov, to give Russia a 3-0 lead in the first period.

 

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