Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Morning World Cup Player Notes (Sep 21)
The Swedes had a plan going into this tournament, that they were going to lean upon their number one goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, to get them to where they wanted to go and after a bit of a speed bump in the first game, Lundqvist came back in time for his country's rivalry game against Finland and he did not disappoint.
The 34-year old keeper stood tall, making 36 saves, including a couple of key stops on Finland's up-and-coming superstar, Patrik Laine, earning the shutout in a 2-0 victory and a big 4 points for Cam in the hockey pool.
No, Sweden didn't blow the doors off of their rivals in this one, as it was mainly a 1-0 game after Anton Stralman opened the scoring in the middle of the 2nd period, it was a closely contested game for the entire 60 minutes. Loui Eriksson added a late empty-netter for the final score, but Finland was never really out of it.
Unfortunately for the pool, no one took Stralman, so the bonus point was left in oblivion and it was only Lundqvist's effort that was notable in the standings yesterday.
The Finns had to do something, as they were hanging by a thread in the standings, so they had dressed both Teuvo Teravainen and Jyrki Jokipakka, much to the delight of Neil and Scott, but they had no effect on the outcome, as that big zero on the scoreboard meant no points, regardless. Non-pool players, Erik Haula and Esa Lindell, were the scratches for Finland to make room, while Jhonas Enroth went back to the press box, upon the return of Lundqvist.
The marquee game of the night was supposed to be the best game of the tournament, in theory, but it fell well short of the Russia/North America game of the night before, as Canada and the US played in a bit of a snoozer.
With all the hype surrounding this one, I'm sure we all thought we were in for a good one, as Ryan McDonagh pushed one past Carey Price early on, but when Canada responded with two goals in a matter of a couple minutes, the air really came out of the Americans and it was kind of a sleepwalk to the end of the 2nd period, with Canada leading 4-1.
The US made a decent push in the 3rd period, beating Price a few times in the frame, but only one was able to get past a post, but it was far from enough, as the final score ended up being 4-2 and the hype was underplayed.
It was a big night for Matt Duchene, who scored a pair of goals in the 1st period, including the eventual winner, giving him and Dale a 3-point night, which Dale tacked on a couple more points, thanks to the Price win.
The Americans made more questionable roster moves, as Brandon Dubinsky and Jack Johnson came out of the lineup, but Dustin Byfuglien and Kyle Palmieri made their way back in. It was good news for Dale and Cam, that their players came back in, but it was somewhat of a wash for Dale, as Dubinsky belonged to him. Canada left their lineup the same from their opening game, so no changes there.
Dale may have missed out on a skater game, a stat that he ranks last in the pool in, with only 21 skater games played (compared to Cam's 27, to lead the pool), but that doesn't seem to matter, as Dale opened up an 8-point lead, thanks to that Canadian effort. Dale's 22 points is now good enough for a massive lead over Neil's 14 points and Clayton & Cam's 13 points. If Canada moves on through to the finals, this one won't be close.