Monday, September 26, 2016

Morning World Cup Player Notes (Sep 26)

And still, no one has Jaroslav Halak. I'm just saying. The Europeans managed to move through to the World Cup Finals, defeating Sweden 3-2 in overtime on Sunday afternoon.

It was a slow, calculated game, where either team was trying to feed off of mistakes, rather than carry the play and it made for a bit of a boring game, at least through the 1st period, which was held scoreless.  Nicklas Backstrom got the scoring started in the 2nd, picking up a loose rebound, which beat Halak across the net.  It looked like Sweden was going to be content with a 1-goal lead, but Marian Gaborik was able to knot it up with a late period marker of his own.

Tomas Tatar jumped all over the Swedes to start the 3rd period, as he streaked in on a rush of his own, wiring a hard high shot on Henrik Lundqvist and then he pounced on his own rebound and the Europeans all of a sudden had a lead and put the pressure on.

The Swedes kept to their game plan, trying not to look too rushed or panicked, and their play paid off, as Erik Karlsson tied it up at 2-2, getting a fortunate deflection off a defender on a wrist shot from the point with less than five to go in the 3rd.

The game moved to overtime and now that they are in the playoff round, ti was going to be 5-on-5 overtime until someone scored.  No shootouts, just NHL playoff rules.  Thankfully, it didn't take too long to end the game, as Tatar was the hero in this one, as he picked up his second goal of the day and it was a big one.  Tatar was able to collect a little bit of garbage at the side of Lundqvist's net and just like that, the upset was complete.

Unfortunately, much like Halak's participation in the pool, Tatar wasn't taken as well, leaving a few points on the table, as well as the keeper's win.

ImplicationsWell, Scott was able to knock down a couple of the points off of Dale's lead, so the best-of-three finals will start with a 12-point difference between 1st and 2nd place.  Scott will be hoping that his two European players, Anze Kopitar and Nino Niederreiter, can conquer the Canadians and pretty well embarrass them all by themselves.  Sure, Dale has five Canadian players going into the finals, but the Europeans have been turning heads all tournament, so who knows in the end?

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