Canada Remains Perfect At Worlds
Monday, 05.9.2011 / 4:45 PM ET / News
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KOSICE, Slovakia -- Rick Nash and his Canadian teammates have earned an early date with Russia at the IIHF World Hockey Championship.
The big winger tipped home the winning goal with less than eight minutes to play on Monday as Canada edged Sweden 3-2 to complete a perfect 6-0 run through the round robin portion of the event.
Their reward is a quarter-final matchup against Russia, which has struggled here despite the arrival of Alex Ovechkin. The do-or-die game will be played Wednesday or Thursday at Orange Arena in Bratislava.
Sweden will face Germany in its first game of the medal round.
James Neal and John Tavares had the other goals for Canada while David Petrasek and Mattias Tedenby replied for the Swedes (4-2).
Nash had a big impact on the game. The Canadian captain levelled Mikael Backlund with a body check late in the second period before tipping home a Brent Burns point shot for the winning goal at 12:31 of the third.
With both teams knowing that a win would lead to a quarter-final matchup with Russia, there was reason to wonder how hard they'd push for it. But the competitiveness of the game was evident almost immediately as Neal and Petrasek traded goals during the frantic opening minutes.
The Canadian winger opened the scoring on a breakaway at 1:08, firing the puck past Erik Ersberg after taking a quick pass from Jason Spezza.
Sweden tied the score at 3:43 shortly after Burns was sent off for a questionable interference penalty. Petrasek knocked a juicy rebound past Jonathan Bernier.
Tavares restored the lead with his team-leading fifth goal of the tournament and may not have even touched the puck. He tapped Ersberg's stick as the goaltender went to cover it and the puck slid over the goal-line at 13:20.
Another power-play goal brought the Swedes even. Tedenby snuck a shot through Bernier from the side of the goal at 10:38 of the second period.
Nash really started making his presence felt shortly after, first wiring a shot off the crossbar before levelling Backlund with a thunderous open-ice hit that drew a two-minute charging penalty. Swedish coach Par Marts argued for more -- to no avail.
The final game of the tournament at Steel Arena was played before an enthusiastic sellout crowd who sang, clapped and whistled throughout. Canada will pack up its gear and travel to Bratislava on Tuesday morning.
Notes: Hockey Canada will auction a game-worn sweater from each player on eBay starting May 10 ... Canada wore its red sweaters for the fourth time in the tournament ... The Swedes dressed 14 forwards and six defencemen because blue-liners Nicklas Grossman (knee) and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (wrist) are out with injuries ... Ottawa Senators prospect David Runblad played his first game for Sweden at the event.