The round robin portion of the World Championships are complete and the Habs representing their respective countries this Spring have been largely impressive. The four Quarterfinal games will all be played on Thursday, followed by Semifinal Saturday and the medal games taking place on Sunday.
Lars Eller had the most disappointing tournament of the Canadiens as his team needed a 2-0 win over Latvia late in the Championships just to avoid relegation to next years B tournament after losing to Italy early on. Eller played over 20 minutes per game, scored 3 goals and added a pair of assists to lead the lowly Danes offensively. However it was not enough to get Denmark ahead of Germany, Norway or even Latvia.
The Russian’s featuring Alexei Emelin ran the table in the round robin and are a perfect 7 and 0 heading into the Quarters. Emelin sat out one game with a suspension for spearing Sweden’s Johan Franzen but still finished with a strong +7 and the second highest average time on ice among Russian D with a shade over 19 minutes. Emelin is playing great in a shutdown role against other nation’s top players for a team with gold in their sights.
Tomas Plekanec finished the preliminaries with one goal and five assists, helping the Czech Republic to a quarterfinal match against co-host Sweden. The Swede’s lost only one game, at the hands of the Russians and defeated the Czech’s in the round robin 4-1. Plekanec played his usual role, which is to say he has done everything. Playing in all situations he had the second most ice time among Czech forwards and finished with a +1. He had played very well but will have to be even better if this team is going to take down Sweden and grab a medal.
The best Hab at the Championships thus far has been Max Pacioretty. He is among the tournament scoring leaders finishing with 2 goals and 10 assists for 12 points. Playing on a line with Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Duck Bobby Ryan, he has dominated throughout. Team USA advance to the quarters as the second seed in their pool and will play the host Finland on Thursday. The U.S. defeated Finland 5-0 in their round robin meeting but Finland are not going to go away that easily in a do or die contest. This will be a tough matchup for the States but they do remain very much in medal contention thanks to Pacioretty’s strong play.
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