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World Cup Game Recap

Team Russia defeats Team Finland to reach semifinals

Will play Team Canada on Saturday; Team North America eliminated

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Director of Editorial

TORONTO -- Team Russia qualified for the semifinals of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 with a 3-0 win against Team Finland at Air Canada Centre on Thursday.

Team Russia will play Team Canada here on Saturday.

"It's going to be a fun game," Team Russia captain Alex Ovechkin said. "It's nice to be a part of obviously. Two teams with a great history. Again, it's going to be tough. It's going to be hard because we play here in Canada. But it's going to be fun, fun game."

Vladimir Tarasenko, Ivan Telegin and Evgeni Malkin scored for Team Russia. Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves.

Team Russia (2-1-0, 4 points) finished second in Group B and plays the winner of Group A, Team Canada, in the first semifinal (7 p.m. ET; ESPN2, CBC, TVA Sports).

Team Sweden, the Group B winner, plays Team Europe in the other semifinal on Sunday (1 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Team Russia had to win Thursday against already eliminated Team Finland (0-3-0, 0 points) in order to advance. Team North America (2-1-0), the other team in Group B, also had four points, but Team Russia won the tiebreaker because of its head-to-head 4-3 win on Monday.

Video: FIN@RUS: Malkin snaps the puck in past Rask

Team Russia scored 3:42 into the second period when Tarasenko took a nifty pass from Ovechkin and tucked a shot past goaltender Tuukka Rask.

Tarasenko's goal came one minute after Team Finland was denied one by the post behind Bobrovsky after Mikael Granlund put a one-timer past him.

"We started off well and played [a] pretty good first period," Team Finland coach Lauri Marjamaki said. "We created so many good scoring chances, but we didn't score. After penalty killing [to start the] second period, we have a good scoring chance, for example, Granlund, but he only [hit the] post, and then [a] goal against.

"Everybody understands that if you score, you get so much energy and positive thinking in your team. But now, we didn't score."


The fastest shot in the game came from Alex Ovechkin, who hit 99 mph, but missed the net


Telegin made it 2-0 at 5:01 of the second.

Ovechkin said the post hit by Team Finland may have been the turning point.

"Right after that, we score two goals right away," he said. "It kind of give us a breath, and we just play simple and don't give them nothing."

Malkin made it 3-0 at 3:39 of the third period.

As was the case throughout the tournament, Team Finland struggled to find offense. In three games, it scored one goal and it went its final 124:07 without scoring.

"In the last two games, against Sweden and Russia, we played good as a team and we battled hard, I think we did our best, we just couldn't get pucks in," Team Finland center Aleksander Barkov said. "It was great defending by the opposite team, but of course if you don't score you can't win the games, and I think it's the biggest thing in hockey. You have to score."


Goal of the game:

Tarasenko took a nifty pass from Ovechkin, who stickhandled past two players, and tucked a shot past Rask, who could not get across in time, for a 1-0 lead. Team Russia caught a break on the play when a clearing attempt hit Tarasenko and stayed inside the zone.

Video: FIN@RUS: Tarasenko finishes nice pass from Ovechkin


Save of the game:

Rask played well but faced a number of high-quality chances. One came at 18:54 of the second period, when the game was 2-0. Nikita Kucherov put a hard shot into Rask from the faceoff circle and the puck squeezed through his leg pads and started dribbling toward the goal line. Rask reached back with his stick and cleared the puck away before Kucherov could reach it. The puck went right to Kuznetsov, who slammed it off the right post and it skittered away.


Unsung moment of the game:

With the score 0-0 late in the first period, Russia was on the penalty kill after Ovechkin took a neutral-zone penalty at 17:23. Twice, Team Russia defensemen Alexei Emelin went to one knee to block slap shots from Patrik Laine to defuse scoring opportunities.


Highlight of the game:

Telegin showed impressive offensive skills on his goal, coming out of the corner to take a pass from Vadim Shipachev and then cutting across the goal mouth with a bit of patience before sliding a shot past Rask, who could not get to the far post.

Video: FIN@RUS: Telegin dances around Rask for goal


They said it

"It's always nice to play against Canada. The whole world knows that the best players play here. They're always the favorite in every tournament. We have to accept the challenge. Show those guys what we've got." -- Team Russia forward Evgeny Kuznetsov

"Yeah, we just couldn't find the net. I think we created a lot of good chances, but it just didn't bounce this tournament for us. We just need to get the one ugly one, maybe, and we can get more goals. But it's a short tournament and sometimes you can't find the net." -- Team Finland forward Teuvo Teravainen

"I am proud of my team, but it is not so easy to come to this game and play like that, and dedication to our style of play was great. But if you didn't score, you can't win. That's the way. Of course it would be interesting to see the exact same [Team Finland], for example, in the Olympics in 2018. The future seems bright, nevertheless, for Team Finland." -- Team Finland coach Lauri Marjamaki

Video: Postgame: Team Russia vs. Team Finland


Need to know

Team Russia center Pavel Datsyuk did not play because of a lower-body injury sustained during practice Wednesday. His status for the semifinal is unknown. He was replaced by Vadim Shipachev, who had an assist. Defenseman Nikita Nesterov and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy were the other scratches for Team Russia. … Team Finland scratched forward Erik Haula, defenseman Esa Lindell and goalie Mikko Koskinen. … Team Finland forward Mikko Koivu injured his foot blocking a shot in the second period and missed some time before returning in the third. "I think he is OK," Marjamaki said.


What's next

Team Russia: A semifinal game against Team Canada at Air Canada Center on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN2, CBC, TVA Sports).

Team Finland: The tournament is finished for the team which lost three games by a combined score of 9-1.

Video: Bobrovsky, Team Russia shuts out Finland, 3-0

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