All 13 of the players and staff representing the Nashville Predators saw game action on Friday at the IIHF World Championship. The first two contests of the day saw Preds players and coaches taking home wins in both games played.
For the United States, Seth Jones sealed the deal on a 4-3 overtime win against Kazakhstan with his game-winning goal. In addition to his deciding tally, Jones, who was named the Americans’ best player of the game, tallied an additional goal and an assist. In the past two days of competition Jones has recorded six points (3g-3a) moving him into the lead among tournament defensemen and fifth overall in points (3g-4a-7pts). Jones wasn’t the only Predator to find the scoresheet for the Americans; Preds forward Craig Smith added two points (1g-1a) on the day.
In Canada’s 6-1 win against Italy, Preds defenseman Ryan Ellis registered a +1 rating, the third straight game he has finished +1 or better, in 21:47 time on ice.
The remainder of the Preds contingent in Belarus took to the ice in the late Friday match-ups. Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne, who was named Finland’s player of the game for the second straight game, made 26 saves and stopped all five Swiss shootout attempts in Finland’s 3-2 win. Roman Josi, who led Swiss skaters in ice time for the fifth straight game (28:56), tallied Switzerland’s second goal of the game to force the extra frame. Preds prospect Miikka Salomaki added an assist on the Finns’ first goal.
Also playing in a late Friday game, Sweden remained unbeaten, recording a 3-1 win against Slovakia. Preds defenseman Mattias Ekholm logged 28:11 against the Slovaks, more than six minutes more than the next closest Swedish skater (Johan Fransson, 21:48). Calle Jarnkrok, named Sweden’s player of the game, recorded two shots.
The only team with Predators representatives to take the ice on Saturday is Switzerland who will face Kazakhstan at 12:45 p.m. CT. The rest of the Preds representatives play again on Sunday at 8:45 a.m. as the United States takes on Finland and Canada matches up against Sweden.
The Nashville Predators have 13 representatives at the 2014 World Championship being held May 9-25 in Minsk, Belarus. Head Coach Peter Laviolette, Assistant Coach Phil Housley, Video Coach Lawrence Feloney, Seth Jones and Craig Smith are representing the United States, who is looking for back-to-back medals at the tournament after a bronze a year ago; Miikka Salomaki, Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros are playing for Finland; Calle Jarnkrok and Mattias Ekholm are looking to defend Sweden’s crown at the tournament; Simon Moser and Roman Josi are looking to build on a silver-medal winning performance in last year’s worlds for Switzerland; and Ryan Ellis is playing for Canada.