COLOGNE – Pavel Datsyuk scored a hat trick and Alexander Ovechkin kept his goal streak going, adding his fifth in the tournament in as many games. The Kovalchuk-Malkin-Datsyuk line collected ten points as Russia beat Denmark 6-1.
Russia now hasn’t lost a World Championship game since the 2-1 overtime loss to Finland in 2007.
"We wanted to make sure that we'd respect Denmark, and play organized hockey, and we did just that," said Vyachselav Bykov, Russia's coach.
"There were a couple of minutes in the second period where we lost the discipline, but I'm happy with the result," he added.
Russia had added Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar to the team that beat Germany last night, bringing the total of Vancouver Olympians on the roster up to 14. Coach Bykov had placed both players in Ilya Kovalchuk’s unit, together with Pavel Datsyuk and Dmitri Kalinin.
"It's easy to analyze why we lost. They were too good. We knew that before the game, and we know it now," said Denmark coach Per Bäckman.
"We played a good team game and the first two periods were decent but unfortunately, we couldn't keep up with them in the third," added forward Lars Eller.
The Datsyuk line introduced themselves to the fans at 15:07. Malkin got the puck into the zone, he dropped it to Kovalchuk, who dropped it to Datsyuk, who waited until Denmark goaltender Frederik Andersen dropped on his knees and then fired a wrist shot next to the far post, beating Andersen - playing his second game in the tournament - on the stick side.
At 17:17 Denmark got its chance when Datsyuk crosschecked Denmark’s captain Jesper Damgaard into the boards and was sent to the sin bin. However, playing shorthanded, Sergei Fedorov found Alexander Ovechkin in the slot with 48 seconds remaining in the period. Ovechkin’s wrist shot hit the net camera and bounced back so fast that a video call had to be made at the end of the shift. The goal was deemed good, and the last 48 seconds were re-played.
Early in the second period, Denmark got another powerplay opportunity and this time, it was the team with the one-man advantage that scored. Quarterbacked by Peter Regin, the Danes cycled the puck until it as time to get it back to Regin who sent a hard pass to the side of the net, and Mads Christensen deflected it in.
It was Regin’s seventh point in the tournament.
But then Denmark ran into penalty trouble. When the opponent has a special team that includes Datsyuk, Malkin, Kovalchuk, Ovechkin, and Gonchar, one penalty is trouble. Lars Eller was sent to the penaty box for hooking and Russia got to work. They cycled the puck around the Danish zone, and played it to Malkin, who was waiting by the side of the net. He made a quick spin move and lifted the puck over Andersen’s shoulder to give Russia a 3-1 lead at 13:40.
But Malkin’s line wasn’t done with the night yet. Malkin played the puck to Kovalchuk behind the Danish net. The captain sent a saucer to Datsyuk in the slot. He made a deke, Andersen attempted a pad save, but Datsyuk went around him and sent a backhander to the empty net for 4-1 at 7:51.
Datsyuk was awarded a penalty shot when Thor Dresler stopped him at a scoring chance. He didn’t miss. He looked like he was going to go for a backhander, but moved the puck to his forehand and sent a wrist shot past Andersen for 5-1 at 10:51.
Less than two minutes later, Andersen got beat again. Maxim Afinogenov’s pass from behind the net found its way to the tape of Nikolai Kulemin’s stick. He onetimed it to the back of the net.
"We are going to win a third straight World Championship and we arenot going to stop," said Dmitri Kulikov.
Denmark will play against Belarus tomorrow.
"We have to win that game to get to the quarterfinal. Our focus is in that game, this doesn't change anything," Eller said.
Russia's next game is against Finland, on Tuesday.