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World Championship

World Championship semifinals preview

Canada plays Czech Republic, Russia faces Finland

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

Canada will try to take the next step in its quest for a 27th title at the 2019 IIHF World Championship when it plays Czech Republic in the second semifinal at Ondrej Nepela Arena in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN).

Russia faces Finland in the first semifinal game (9 a.m. ET; NHLN).

Canada advanced when forward Mark Stone (Vegas Golden Knights) scored his second goal of the game at 5:07 of overtime for a 3-2 win against Switzerland in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Switzerland had eliminated Canada in the semifinals of the 2018 World Championship.

Stone's 12 points (seven goals, five assists) are tied with forward Anthony Mantha (Detroit Red Wings) for Canada's lead. Mantha was suspended for the quarterfinals because of an illegal check to the head against the United States in Canada's final preliminary-round game, but will be available for the semifinals.

A championship for Canada would be its first since 2017 and would tie Russia/USSR for the most in tournament history.

The Czech Republic reached the semifinals with a 5-1 win against Germany in the quarterfinals. It pulled away with four goals in the third period, the first of which was scored by forward Jakub Voracek (Philadelphia Flyers). The Czech Republic captain's 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) are tied for second at the tournament.

A win would give Czech Republic a chance to win its first World Championship since 2010.

Russia, the only team to win all seven of its preliminary-round games, reached the semifinals with a 4-3 win against the U.S. in the quarterfinals. It last won a World Championship gold medal in 2014.

It's gotten its best offensive production from a third line of Artem Anisimov (Chicago Blackhawks), Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Nikita Gusev (Golden Knights). Kucherov leads Russia and is tied for second at the tournament with 16 points (six goals,10 assists), and Gusev has 15 points (four goals, 11 assists). Anisimov has five points (three goals, two assists) and is plus-10. Gusev scored one minute into the first period against the U.S., and also had two assists.

Russia also has been the stingiest defensive team, allowing 10 goals in eight games. Andrei Vasilevskiy (Lightning) has a .938 save percentage and two shutouts in six games.

Finland, which advanced on forward Sakari Manninen's goal 1:37 into overtime for a 5-4 win against Sweden in the quarterfinals, has a chance to win the World Championship for the first time since 2016.

Manninen leads a Finland team that has two NHL players -- defenseman Henri Jokiharju (Chicago Blackhawks) and forward Juho Lammikko (Florida Panthers) -- with 10 points (two goals, eight assists). Forward Kaapo Kakko, one of the top prospects for the 2019 NHL Draft, leads Finland and is tied for seventh at the tournament with six goals.

The winners of the semifinals will play for the title on Sunday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN). The losing teams will play for third place Sunday (9:30 a.m. ET; NHLN).

Remaining schedule



Russia vs. Finland, 9 a.m. ET (NHLN)
Canada vs. Czech Republic, 1 p.m. ET (NHLN)



Third-place game, 9:30 a.m. ET (NHLN)
Championship game, 2 p.m. ET (NHLN)

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