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Qualifying Rounds Under Way

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

It was the first day of the qualifying rounds. With teams not worrying about fighting for their lives to not be relegated to a lower level of competition in future tournaments, they could just focus on the whole goal of the tournament. Winning gold.

Three teams with Panthers players played Thursday night as the US won a close game over Germany 6-4, Canada found a way to beat Norway 2-1 and Sweden blew out Denmark 8-1.

Craig Anderson (Getty Images)
(Halifax) It was a great start for the Americans. In fact, it was a great first 2:52 of the game as the US found the back of the net three times.

New Jersey’s Zach Parise started the scoring parade just 26 seconds in while Los Angeles’ Patrick O’Sullivan netted his third of the championships 2:10 in. Chicago’s James Wisniewski then made it 3-0, 42 seconds later.

Even down by that 3-0 score, the Germans didn’t go down without a fight. Michael Hackert put the Germans on the board with 5:57 remaining in the period and Christopher Schmidt’ power play goal brought the score to 3-2 heading into the first intermission with 2:08 remaining.

Two goals were scored in the second period as Buffalo’s Jason Pominville power play goal 6:52 in gave the American a 4-2 lead while Florian Busch’s goal 3:31 later brought the score to 4-3.

The Germans soon tied the score and really gave a scare to the Americans when Michael Bakos beat Panthers goalie Craig Anderson 4:55 into the final period. The goal chased Anderson who had gotten the start in net.

Tied or even down was not where the Americans wanted to be, especially since they were up 3-0 at one point in time. Luckily the one thing that has been clicking for them the whole tournament, the power play, came through.

With Christoph Schubert in the box for cross-checking, Parise’s shot found the back of the net with 8:56 remaining in the contest, giving the Americans the lead once and for all. Los Angeles’ Dustin Brown added the empty netter with a 1:36 to go.

Anderson started in net for the US and stopped 5 shots in 44:55 of play. David Booth had two shots on goal in 11:33 of ice time.

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Jay Bouwmeester (Getty Images)
(Halifax) The Canadians got all they could handle from a NHLless Norway team, squeeking out the 2-1 victory over the Norwegians.

Canada found the back of the net first as Washington’s Mike Green scored on the Canadian power play 9:32 into the game. But that’s all the Canadians could muster against a Norway netminder who had an amazing game.

Pal Grotnes came up huge time and time again for Norway, turning away shot after shot. He stopped 13 shots in the first period and then 19 more in the second as Mads Hansen recorded a shorthanded goal with 6:01 left in the second to knot the score at one.

Grotnes then stopped 18 more in the third but it wasn’t enough as Columbus’ Rick Nash netted the game winning power play goal with 3:58 remaining in regulation, keeping Canada undefeated at the World Championships.

Jay Bouwmeester finished with two shots on net and 14:44 of ice time.

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Magnus Johansson (Getty Images)
(Quebec City) Just three days after the largest margin of victory in the tournament to date, Sweden netted another huge blowout win with their 8-1 opening qualifying victory over Denmark.

Sweden would score the game winner 15:33 into the game as Kenny Jonsson scored first 8:47 and Marcus Nilson made it 2-0 with 4:27 remaining.

The Swedes would double their score with two more goals in the second. Tony Martensson gave them the 3-0 lead 5:35 into the middle period while Anton Stralman scored just 1:09 later.

Sweden then made the score 7-0 with three goals in a span of 3:14 with goals by Karl Fabricius (41 seconds in to the third), Mattias Weinhandl (1:48 in) and Rickard Wallin (3:55 in). Martensson then made it 8-0 with his power play goal with 9:46 remaining.

From there it was just wondering if New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist could get the shut out. But Kasper Degn ruined that bid as he beat Lundqvist with 5:28 remaining in the game.

Magnus Johansson had two shots on goal and finished with a +1 rating and 19:33 of ice time.

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