Scheifele picks up an assist as Canada stays undefeated
Mitchell Clinton & Ryan Dittrick
The Winnipeg Jets have seven players participating in the 2017 IIHF World Hockey Championship, held in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany. Check back throughout the tournament for daily updates, highlights and more as Mark Scheifele, Josh Morrissey and Eric Comrie of Canada, Nikolaj Ehlers of Denmark, and Jacob Trouba, Andrew Copp and Connor Hellebuyck of the U.S. go for gold.
CANADA 3 vs. FRANCE 2
One bounce proved to be the difference as Canada defeated France 3-2 in regulation to remain undefeated at the IIHF World Hockey Championship.
Early in the third period, Marc-Edouard Vlasic's point shot got tipped on the way to the net, bounced off the end boards into the crease, and off the stick of French defenceman Jonathan Janil and over the goal line.
That goal would hold up as the game winner, as Canada remains atop Pool B with a 4-0-0-0 record.
Mark Scheifele had an assist in 14:59 of ice time, and Josh Morrissey played 13:42.
Chad Johnson made 22 saves on 24 shots in the win, while Florian Hardy - the hero in France's 5-1 upset of Finland on Sunday - stopped 32 Canadian shots in a losing cause.
Canada opened the scoring 5:19 into the first on the power play following a too many men penalty against France. Scheifele made a one-touch pass off a dish from Jason Demers to Nathan MacKinnon on the half wall. MacKinnon then found Ryan O'Reilly at the side of the net along the goal line, and after a quick move in front, O'Reilly's backhand shot found the top corner.
France answered right back minutes later, as Nicolas Ritz moved the puck out of the zone and found 81 in the neutral zone, Anthony Rech slid a backhand pass back to the top of the circle, and the one-timer shot from Olivier Dame-Malka beat Chad Johnson on the short side.
The tournament hosts took 2-1 lead on a power play of its own in the second. With Canada's Chris Lee in the box for interference, Yohann Auvitu fed Stephane da Costa on the half wall, who threaded a beautiful pass through the Canadian penalty killers to Damien Fleury, who made no mistake on the finish.
Claude Giroux would answer back for Canada with his second of the tournament. Chris Lee sent a backhand pass from the point to Giroux at the top of the circle, and Canadian captain didn't hesitate, as he wired a wrist shot to the top corner over Hardy's glove for Canada's second power play goal of the game.
Canada next opponent is Switzerland (2-1-1-0, second in Pool B) on Saturday, with puck drop set for 1:15 pm CT.
For more than 35-and-a-half minutes on Thursday, the underdog Danes held their opponents in check, keeping the game in a 0-0 tie despite the lopsided count on the shot clock.
But then, the floodgates opened.
Three goals in only a minute and 10 seconds, including two in 18, late in the second period proved to be the difference in a 3-0 victory for the Russians.
Nikolaj Ehlers finished with a couple of good scoring chances, three shots and a -1 rating in 17:25 of ice time.
The normally defensive-minded Bogdan Kiselevich got things rolling with a low-slot shot at 15:36. Artemi Panarin took the puck wide around the net before spotting Kiselevich in the middle, and the D-man wasted no time in corralling the pass and launching it over Sorensen's right shoulder to break the stalemate.
Russia then opened up a two-goal lead on Sergei Plotnikov's third of the tournament at 15:54. Sergei Andronov made a great play at the blue line, forcing a turnover and making a beautiful pass down to the goalmouth. With all kinds of time in front, Plotnikov made a quick move to the backhand, hoisting the puck over the goalie's glove hand.
Nikita Gusev rounded out the scoring in this minute-long onslaught, chipping a shot just under the bar after getting a pass from the newest Golden Knight, Vadim Shipachyov, at 16:46.
Danish goalie George Sorensen was unflappable the rest of the night, finishing with 29 saves.