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Sergei Bobrovsky does his part, gets little help

Team Russia goalie makes 42 saves in loss to Team Canada at World Cup semifinal

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Sergei Bobrovsky made Team Canada and an entire country of hockey fans sweat on Saturday.

The Team Russia goalie could do no more than that. His courageous effort had his team ahead by a goal late in the second period, but his 42 saves in the World Cup of Hockey 2016 semifinal at Air Canada Centre weren't enough in a 5-3 loss to Team Canada, which advanced to the tournament's best-of-3 final.

"He was playing amazing," Team Russia defenseman Alexei Emelin said. "Around 50 shots, and that's very tough for him. I think he has played well.

"It's very sad. But we can't change it now."

Bobrovsky looked like he was going to be the difference for the majority of two periods. He made excellent saves against Team Canada forwards Corey Perry and Steven Stamkos early in the second, setting the stage for goals by forwards Nikita Kucherov at 8:47 and Evgeny Kuznetsov at 16:24 for a 2-1 Team Russia lead.

The shots on goal at that point were 30-12 in favor of Team Canada, but Bobrovsky said he had no thought then about stealing the game.

"I don't think that way," Bobrovsky said. "I tried to be focused on the moment right here and just keep going. That way, it doesn't matter what the score is right now. You just have to be focused."

Video: RUS@CAN: Bobrovsky stops Stamkos with great pad save

Team Canada forward Brad Marchand scored to tie the game 1:12 later thanks to a lateral pass by Sidney Crosby, a goal Bobrovsky could do nothing about. Team Canada then ramped up the pressure even further to start the third period, putting the game away with three goals in the first 9:22.

The shot clock showed 46-20 after that onslaught, and the damage was done. The final shots on goal total was 47-34.

"Obviously, goaltending at this event, the goaltenders are spectacular," Team Canada coach Mike Babcock said. "So they can hold the fort for a long period of time. The first time we played the Russians (in pretournament play, a 3-2 overtime win on Sept. 14), it took us until the third and then to overtime to win. So today we got there a little quicker, but still [Bobrovsky] was unreal."

Marchand's goal early in the third, a snap shot to the lower right corner, was the perfect storm, Bobrovsky said.

"There was the bad combination for me," he said. "A little bit of traffic and perfect shot. He shot at the perfect time. I didn't see the start of the shot and obviously the shot was very good."

Coming into the semifinal, Bobrovsky had stopped 91 of 96 shots (a .948 save percentage). Team Russia won two of three games to reach the semifinals.

But on Saturday, Team Canada was more than the goalie or Team Russia could handle.

"We didn't help him enough," Team Russia defenseman Andrei Markov said. "He was great, like usual. But we needed to do better to help him, much better."

Video: RUS@CAN: Bobrovsky stretches to make big glove save

Bobrovsky spoke after the game about refocusing after each Team Canada shot or attack. His volume of refocusing was so high, the sum of his work must have seemed like a blur to him.

"I don't know," he said. "It's tough to say that way. Most of the job I didn't even remember because I tried to focus on the next moment. It's tough to say that.

"I felt great. I tried to do as much as I can for the team. I worked hard. I gave everything I had, (but) they were better than us today."

That Team Canada was better on this night was more important than trying to assess a Team Russia letdown for the third period, the goalie said.

"The third period, we were ready for the third," he said. "We prepared ourselves, but it wasn't any disappointment. We were focused for a big period."

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