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World Championship Round-Up: Johnson leads USA; Vasilevskiy shines vs. U.S.

by Missy Zielinski / Tampa Bay Lightning

Center, Tyler Johnson (USA) – Centering Brock Nelson and Craig Smith on the team’s top line, Tyler Johnson led Team USA to a character win and a 2-0 World Championship start. Johnson scored game-winner in its second contest of the preliminary round, before being dealt its first loss of the tournament versus Russia on Monday. The goal in the 3-2 comeback win against Switzerland went along with an assist that matches his two-point performance (two assists) in the Worlds opening game. Johnson’s one goal and three assists are also tied for third in the tournament for points and tied for the lead for assists. Johnson,and Team USA look to rebound from Monday’s defeat on Thursday versus Latvia.

Goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy (RUS) – After Sergei Bobrovsky led Russia to back-to-back wins, head coach Oleg Znarok made the surprising move, giving Lightning prospect Andrei Vasilevskiy his first start in net of the tournament and the 19-year-old did not disappoint. While the offense made a statement with six goals to hand USA its biggest losing margin since a 12-2 loss to Russia at the 1991 World Championship, Vasilevskiy stood tall despite being peppered by shots, including being outshot 17-7 in the second period, as well as facing multiple USA power plays. Stopping 39 of 40 shots he faced, the Bolts prospect, who is fresh off signing and entry-level contract with Tampa Bay, was also named the top player of the game for Russia. Russia looks to defend its undefeated record Wednesday versus Kazakhstan.

Other notes from this weekend’s action – Lightning forward Richard Panik has appeared in three games for Slovakia and is averaging 16:40 time on ice per game…Bolts prospect and Syracuse Crunch Dmitry Korobov has recorded one assist, is a plus-1 and is averaging 21:17 time on ice in three games with Belarus…Latvian netminder and Lightning prospect Kristers Gudlevskis started one game, stopping 30 of 33 shots in a 3-2 loss to Germany.

Upcoming games to watch for:
Tuesday, May 13 – KAZ vs. LAT
Wednesday, May 14 – RUS vs. KAZ, SVK vs. NOR
Thursday, May 15 – USA vs. LAT, FIN vs. BLR
Friday, May 16 – USA vs. KAZ, SWE vs. SVK
Saturday, May 17 – LAT vs. RUS, BLR vs. GER, SVK vs. ITA
Sunday, May 18 – USA vs. FIN, RUS vs. GER
Monday, May 19 – LAT vs. BLR
Tuesday, May 20 – GER vs. USA, LAT vs. SUI, DEN vs. SVK, RUS vs. BLR

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