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IIHF World Championship update: May 11

Friday, 05.11.2012 / 11:30 AM
By Emerald Gao and Leah Hendrickson - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog
Duncan Keith registered a pair of assists on Friday as Team Canada defeated Finland 4-3.

Five tilts into the seven-game preliminary round of the IIHF World Championship, and the six Blackhawks representatives at the tournament have continued to put up strong performances. The Czech Republic defeated Latvia 3-1 on May 10 and, less than 24 hours later, completed a 6-0 rout of Italy. For Canada, Duncan Keith recorded two assists while skating a team-high 26:12 in a 5-3 win over Finland in Helsinki. Sweden, meanwhile, suffered their first loss of the tournament, giving up four goals in the third period and falling 7-3 to Russia. Viktor Stalberg had an assist in the game, his fourth point and first helper at Worlds.

Michael Frolik was held without a point in both Czech victories, playing 12:09 against Latvia and 14:39 against Italy and recording a shot on goal in each contest.

In Canada's tilt against Finland, Antti Pihlstrom was the first to strike for the host country in the fifth minute of play. Mikko Koivu increased the lead to 2-0 with a power-play tally midway through the first period.

Alex Burrows scored the Canadians' first goal in the second frame, but Jussi Jokinen answered for Finland with his third goal of the tournament. After killing off another power play, John Tavares brought Team Canada within one, scoring 4-on-4. With less than two minutes left in the second period, forward Jeff Skinner buried the equalizer for Team Canada.

Evander Kane found the net early in the final frame to give Team Canada its first lead of the game, and Jordan Eberle put away an empty-net goal to cushion Team Canada’s lead. Goaltender Cam Ward stopped 35 of 38 shots to secure the victory for Team Canada.

In addition to Keith's pair of helpers, Patrick Sharp registered two shots in 17:24 of ice time.

In Stockholm, the Swedes and Russians engaged in a somewhat ill-tempered affair, one with plenty of bite and snarl as the two teams combined for 47 penalty minutes. The hosts took an early lead through Erik Karlsson's power-play tally. Alexander Popov answered for Russia with a tally midway through the first period, but Henrik Zetterberg gave Sweden a 2-1 lead with another power-play goal at 14:33. In the aftermath of Zetterberg's goal, Russian defenseman Alexei Emelin appeared to spear Sweden forward Johan Franzen, sparking a battle between the two players that lasted for the rest of the game.

Sweden cushioned their lead with Franzen's power-play strike—Sweden's third of the game—and looked to be in control, but a power-play goal by Evgeni Malkin cut the lead to 3-2 at 36:00, and Emelin knotted the scoreline several minutes later as Franzen sat in the box for a double roughing minor.

Russia seized momentum for good early in the third period, as Alexander Perezhogin and Malkin pounced 2:40 apart to open a 5-3 lead over Sweden. Defenseman Dmitri Kalinin earned a match penalty 5:46 into the period when his stick hit Franzen in the nose, causing blood to gush onto the ice. Sweden were unable to take advantage of the resulting five-minute power play, however, and Malkin completed his hat trick shortly after the teams returned to even strength. Denis Denisov added a seventh goal for Russia with just under a minute left to play.

The Swedes outshot Russia 46-36 in the game and nearly doubled their opponents in power-play time, but fell victim to a virtuoso performance by Malkin, who had the hat trick as well as two assists, and linemate Popov (1G, 3A). For Sweden, Stalberg finished the game with a power-play assist in 18:24 of ice time, while Marcus Kruger played 20:09. Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson skated 18:51.

Team Canada takes on Kazakhstan and Sweden faces Italy on Saturday, while the Czech Republic's next matchup is on Sunday against Russia.