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World Cup Roundup Day 4: Sweden, Canada emerge on top in day of rivalries

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Henrik Lundqvist out-dueled Tuukka Rask, while Canada ended the United States’ World Cup hopes.

Hockey: World Cup of Hockey-Team Canada vs Team USA Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Canada secured its spot in the semifinals with a win over the United States, while Sweden is in position to do so tomorrow thanks to its win over Finland.

Sweden 2, Finland 0

Sweden’s needed their two towers, but the return of the king was the biggest help. Henrik Lundqvist’s 36 save shutout propelled the Swedes to their second win of the tournament, and a win away from topping Group B.

Lundqvist made his tournament debut after missing the first game with the flu, as did Finnish counterpart Tuuka Rask after being benched for Finland’s opener against North America. Both goalies were stellar on the night, and from the very beginning, stopping every shot they faced in the first period.

At around the midway point of the game, Sweden broke the deadlock. The Sedins (The two towers, since they’re tall? And there’s two of them? Get it?), cycling as they do so well, controlled the puck below the goal line for a long stretch in the Finnish zone, and Anton Stralman capitalized. The defenseman jumped into the play, and buried Henrik Sedin’s backhand pass in front of the crease to give Sweden a one goal lead.

Sweden withstood Finland’s pressure through the rest of the game thanks to Lundqvist, who made 13 of his 36 saves in the game’s final period. Rask, to his credit, was exceptional in the third, and stopped every shot he faced. With under a minute to go, Finland pulled Rask in order to find an equalizer, but could not find twine.

Is Henrik Lundqvist still the best goalie in the world?

Yes.

Canada 4, United States 2

Canada dominated their southern neighbors, and eliminated the United States in a 4-2 victory.

The Americans started the game as well as they could have hoped when Ryan McDonagh opened the scoring 4:22 in. But the lead would not last long.

Just 1:29 later, the United States lost their lead, as Matt Duchene tapped in a Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot that caromed off of the end boards directly to Duchene’s stick. 12 seconds later, the Canadians would take the lead for good. Logan Couture backhanded an innocent shot on net that Jonathan Quick blockered directly off of a driving Corey Perry and into the back of his net.

Duchene would add another goal with just under eight minutes to go, giving the Canadians a two-goal advantage going into the second period. Patrice Bergeron put the Canadians up by three 8:50 into the middle frame, after John Tavares dangle Matt Niskanen and fired a pass off of Bergeron’s skate, then Ryan McDonagh’s. then in the net.

T.J. Oshie was credited with the Americans’ second goal in the third period, after Joe Thornton put the puck in his own net. Dustin Byfuglien and Derek Stepan rang shots off of the post, but the Americans were deserved losers in this game, as Canada controlled play at even strength for the entirety of the game.

John Tortorella Memorial Insane Coaching Decision of the Day

Once again, we have plenty of deserving nominees. In a game where the United States struggled to generate offense, was it giving Justin Abdelkader more ice time than 30-goal-scorers Max Pacioretty and Kyle Palmieri? How about using Dustin Byfuglien the least of all the defensemen on the roster? Once again scratching the Americans’ best goalie for one who was certainly unlucky, yet didn’t stop 90 percent of the shots he faced in either game?

On any other night, any of these decisions would have taken home the prize, but the winner is Tortorella’s inexplicable decision to challenge Canada’s second goal. It was clear on the ice that the goal was not kicked, nor was it intentionally directed in by Perry’s chest, but the result of a pretty tough bounce.

Oh, what was that? You say the United States had access to replays on the bench? And they still challenged, knowing full well they could lose a timeout? In a game in which they’d led for less than a minute-and-a-half and allowed two goals in less than 12 seconds?

Why yes, the United States did just that in spite of all of that important context! Sometimes folks, the awards take care of themselves.

Sharks Watch

Joonas Donskoi (F, Finland)

11:22 TOI, 1 SOG, 47.08 score-and-venue adjusted Corsi-For (CF%) percentage, and 49.71 score-and-venue adjusted Fenwick-For (FF%) percentage in Finland’s 2-0 loss to Sweden.

Joe Pavelski (F, United States)

17:22 TOI (fourth among United States forwards), 1 assist, 46.35 score-and-venue adjusted CF%, 47.68 score-and-venue adjusted FF% in United States’ 4-2 loss to Canada.

Brent Burns (D, Canada)

15:05 TOI, 1 assist, 68.08 score-and-venue adjusted CF% (third on Canada), 59.47 score-and-venue adjusted FF% in 4-2 win over United States.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic (D, Canada)

19:49 TOI, 1 assist, 64.60 score-and-venue adjusted CF%, 64.07 score-and-venue adjusted FF% (fifth on Canada)

Logan Couture (F, Canada)

13:56 TOI, 1 assist, 55.60 score-and-venue adjusted CF%, 47.80 score-and-venue adjusted FF%

Joe Thornton (F, Canada)

11:37 TOI, 1 assist, 67.51 score-and-venue adjusted CF% (sixth on Canada), 66.67 score-and-venue adjusted FF% (third on Canada)

Fear the Fin Three Stars

  1. Henrik Lundqvist (G, Sweden): 36 saves in shutout win over Finland
  2. Matt Duchene (F, Canada): 2 G in 4-2 win over United States
  3. Tuuka Rask (G, Finland): 27 saves on 28 shots (25 of 26 at even strength) in 2-0 loss to Sweden.

What’s Up Next?

North America looks to rebound from their loss to Russia, and keep their semifinal hopes alive against Group B leaders Sweden tomorrow at 12 PM PST on ESPN 2. Europe and Canada play to determine semifinal seeding at 5 PM PST on ESPN 2.