Sunday, September 25, 2016

Morning World Cup Player Notes (Sep 25)

The build-up wasn't nearly as great, which may have made the result not quite as sweet, but I think we can all agree that the Canada/Russia game was still pretty good last night.

For two periods, it looked like Sergei Bobrovsky was going to be the story, as the Russians not only hung on for dear life against a very talented juggernaut, like Team Canada, but for a fleeting moment or two, it looked like they had a chance to snap up the momentum and maybe even beat the host team in this tournament.  Oh boy, did that moment ever disappear quickly.

A clever shot from Nikita Kucherov, midway through the 2nd period tied the game up at one, giving the Russians a breath of life, as the Canadians were pumping pucks at their net with great fervor.  The period somewhat evened out a little bit, going back and forth and that had led to an Evgeny Kuznetsov marker, which would give the Russians the lead, but it was brief.  Canada had not trailed much at all in this tournament and their deficit only lasted for 1:12, before Brad Marchand got on the end of a Sidney Crosby feed and the game was all tied up again.

The horn to end the 2nd period was pretty well the last we saw of the close battle, with Marchand scoring a bit of a soft one to open the 3rd period, only a minute and a bit in, then Corey Perry showed off his skills to open a 2-goal lead a few minutes later and then John Tavares finally snuck one through a crowd and under the bar to salt this one away.

It was a 5-3 final scoreline and even with a dominated 3rd period, as it was, it still was a pretty good game to watch.  Carey Price stayed busy, making 31 saves for the win, Crosby had a 3-point game, Perry was credited with the winner, Marchand's pair of goals were clutch and then Patrice Bergeron and Marc-Edouard Vlasic were also notable for having a couple of helpers each.  On the other side of the ledger, Kucherov also had a goal and an assist, helping his restricted free agency negotiation status, one would think.

Canada went back to the lineup, which saw them win their first two games of the tournament, which meant that Claude Giroux, Jake Muzzin and Braden Holtby were all scratches, while Vadim Shipachev was scratched for Nikita Nesterov and the Russians went with seven defenders for this one.  Pavel Datsyuk was also scratched, as his lower-body injury was too much to bear.

ImplicationsThe runaway train that is Dale in this pool, only pulled away a little bit more with this Canadian win.  His lead is now 14 points with a maximum of four games to be played in this tournament.  With all the eliminations, however, Dale only has five players left active in this tournament and yes, they are all Canadian.

Scott, still in 2nd place, has to be hoping for a burnt down barn in the Sweden/Europe game this morning/afternoon, as his last three players are going to be playing in this one.  He has two Europeans and a Swede left and that won't leave him much of anything, either way, when it comes to the best-of-three finals next week.

In 3rd & 4th, Clayton and Neil are only 3 points back of Scott and 17 points back of Dale.  Clayton has seven players remaining today, while Neil only has four.  There is a chance that both of them could pass Scott, but making 1st place, seems to be fading quickly, if it hadn't already.

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