It was a Vezina Trophy-caliber match up at the 2008 IIHF World Championships on Saturday when award finalists Evgeni Nabokov of the San Jose Sharks and Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers manned the nets for their respective nations, Russia and Sweden.
Coming off their decisive 8-1 pounding of Denmark on Friday, Sweden was slightly favored in the preliminary-round game against a Russian squad that squeaked by Belarus in a shootout, 4-3 (SO), the day before. However, it was the high-powered Russian lineup that ended up on the right side of a 3-2 decision in Quebec City.
Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray
made his presence known in the spirited affair, being called for a match penalty on a huge shoulder-to-shoulder hit on Russian captain Alexei Morozov just 10:02 into the game.
Murray was given a game misconduct on what appeared to be a clean collision and under IIHF rules will be forced to serve an automatic one-game suspension for his hit on Morozov. The Sharks blueliner will serve his suspension on Sunday when Sweden faces the Czech Republic.
The hit, which can be seen on YouTube available by clicking here
, sparked a fight between NHL regulars Ilya Kovalchuk of the Atlanta Thrashers and Anton Stralman of the Toronto Maple Leafs resulting in ejections for both players.
With Sweden down a pair of players, including one of their top defensemen in Murray, Russia capitalized by pelting Lundqvist with 42 shots. Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Sergei Fedorov all scored for Russia and Nabokov was solid as the last line of defense, stopping 28 of 30 shots, and grabbing the 3-2 victory.TOUGH DAY FOR GERMANY
The star-studded Canadian squad breezed by Germany on Saturday, 10-1 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Paced by Carolina Hurricanes forward Eric Staal’s four goals, the Canadians dominated the contest in nearly every aspect of the game en route to the easy victory.
Sharks forward Marcel Goc helped do his part for Team Germany, skating at center on Germany’s second and third lines as a checking forward. Goc finished the game with one shot and a minus-1 player rating in 14:34 of ice time.
Sharks backup goaltender Dimitri Patzold did not dress for Germany who used both goaltenders in the one-sided loss. Dimitrij Kotschnew started the game and surrendered four goals on 18 shots in 20 minutes of work. Robert Muller did not fare much better, allowing six goals on 24 shots in the final two periods.