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Panthers in Play for Gold at World Championship

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop /

All five members of the Florida Panthers are still in play at the 2018 IIHF World Championship.

With the preliminary round wrapping up on Tuesday, the field of 16 has been trimmed down to just eight teams at the annual tournament, which continues Thursday with the quarterfinals and concludes on Sunday with the gold medal game at Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Panthers participating at the international event include defenseman Aaron Ekblad (CAN), forwards Evgenii Dadonov (RUS) and Maxim Mamin (RUS), goaltender Harri Sateri (FIN) and coach Bob Boughner (CAN). At least two of those five are guaranteed to reach the semifinals.

In the preliminary round, Sweden (20 points) won Group A and Finland (16 points) captured Group B. The other six teams that qualified for the playoffs include: Russia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Canada, Latvia and the United States. Sweden won the tournament in 2017.

For the Panthers, the highlight of the quarterfinals is a matchup between Russia and Canada. With representatives on both sides of the ice, Florida is guaranteed to have at least one player advance to the next round after the dust settles between the two longtime hockey rivals.

Ekblad, 22, continues to be a force on the blue line for Canada, finishing the group stage tied with Colton Parayko for the team-lead for points by a defenseman. In seven games, the former Calder Trophy winner has recorded five points (one goal, four assists) and a plus-5 rating.

As for Dadonov and Mamin, the offensively-gifted Russian forward duo has combined for nine points (five goals, four assists) in seven games. Mamin, who just finished his first NHL season with the Panthers in April, is tied for third on Russia with three goals.

And then there's Harri Sateri.

After bursting onto the NHL scene as a 28-year-old rookie with the Panthers this season, the late bloomer has continued to impress overseas. He has won all four of his starts for Finland, posting a 1.00 goals-against average, a .954 save percentage and one shutout.

Sateri will look to shutdown Switzerland in the quarterfinals.

The remaining schedule for the World Championship is as follows:

Thursday, May 17

Canada (Ekblad / Boughner) vs. Russia (Dadonov / Mamim) - 10:15 AM

Czech Republic vs. United States - 10:15 AM

Latvia vs. Sweden - 2:15 PM

Finland (Sateri) vs. Switzerland - 2:15 PM

Saturday, May 19

Semifinal 1 - 9:15 AM

Semifinal 2 - 1:15 PM

Sunday, May 20

Bronze Medal Game - 9:45 AM

Gold Medal Game - 2:15 PM

*All games should be available on NHL Network.

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