Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns will recap each day how the Bolts players did in each game of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 being held in Toronto. Tampa Bay has an NHL-high 12 players playing in the tournament and Lightning coach Jon Cooper is an assistant coach on Team North America.
Team Russia 3, Team Finland 0
Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made all 18 saves to lead Team Russia to a shutout win over Team Finland and a spot in the World Cup of Hockey 2016 semifinals.
Russia (2-1-0, 4 points) finishes the round robin portion of the tournament as the Group B runner-up. Russia and Team North America each earned four points through three group stage games, but Russia advances bases on its head-to-head win over North America on Monday.
Russia will play Team Canada in the first semifinal on Saturday, puck drop at 7 p.m.
The Russians netted a pair of early second-period goals for all the scoring they would need. Vladimir Tarasenko scored his second goal of the tournament at 3:42 of the second for the game's opening goal. Ivan Telegin added a goal a little more than a minute later for a 2-0 advantage for Russia.
Evgeni Malkin scored his first tournament goal early in the third period to cap a dominating performance for Russia on Thursday.
Finland scored just one goal in three tournament games, that coming from Lightning center Valtteri Filppula , and finished 0-3-0. Filppula had a hit, a blocked shot and a takeaway in Thursday's loss.
Nikita Kucherov got off two shots for Russia and added two blocked shots and a takeaway during his 16:53 on ice.
Vladislav Namestnikov was on the ice for 12:19 and registered a shot, hit and takeaway.
For a third-straight game, Nikita Nesterov and Andrei Vasilevskiy did not play.
Team Czech Republic 4, Team USA 3
Tampa Bay defenseman Andrej Sustr scored at 16:50 of the second period to help Team Czech Republic beat Team USA 4-3 in the World Cup of Hockey finale for both teams.
Team USA (0-3-0, 0 points) went winless at the tournament, getting outscored 11-5.
Sustr's goal gave the Czech Republic a 3-2 lead after Justin Abdelkader tied it up for the Americans moments earlier. Sustr scored on teammate Ben Bishop , who saw his first (and only) action of the tournament as he got the start in net over Jonathan Quick.
Bishop played two periods, allowing four goals on 19 shots, before giving way to Cory Schneider in the third period.
Milan Michalek scored 39 seconds after Sustr for what would prove to be the eventual game-winning goal for the Czech Republic.
Both the USA and the Czech Republic were eliminated from continuing on into the semifinal round prior to Thursday's group-stage finale.
Sustr finished with three shots against the USA, tied for most on the Czech Republic. He played 20:55, including 2:49 on the penalty kill and 1:43 on the power play.
Ondrel Palat assisted on the Czech Republic's opening goal, finding Zbynek Michalek at 12:44 of the first period, for his first point of the tournament. Palat had a team-best four takeaways and added three shots, three blocked shots and a hit in 20:36 of action (3:28 PK, 2:01 PP).
The Czech Republic (1-1-1, 3 points) finished one point behind Team Europe for the final semifinal berth in Group A.
Saturday's semifinal schedule
Team Russia at Team Canada, 7 p.m.
Sunday's semifinal schedule
Team Europe at Team Sweden, 1 p.m.