Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin returned to the Russia lineup for its quarterfinal game Thursday against France at the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Minsk, Belarus.
Ovechkin didn't have any points and wore a brace on his right knee but showed no ill effects when Russia defeated France 3-0 to advance to the semifinals on Saturday against Sweden, a 3-2 winner against Belarus.
Ovechkin sustained an injury to his right leg during Russia's preliminary-round game against Germany on Sunday, but an MRI revealed no ligament damage to his knee. He sat out Russia's final opening-round game, Tuesday against Belarus, but practiced Wednesday and played 14:46 in 17 shifts Thursday. He played 2:49 in the third period.
"Of course it was a bit awkward to skate in the brace," Ovechkin said. "But I think I'll play without it the next game and everything will be OK. I wasn't risking anything. I knew the brace would protect me in case of a collision. That's what happened in the first period and I immediately knew that the leg is reacting well."
Ovechkin, Russia's captain, has three goals, six assists and a team-high 35 shots on goal in seven games.