Russian Federation entered the game needing a victory to avoid elimination at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 and they had to do it against the tournament darlings in Team North America.
On July 3, 2016, Canada's oldest thoroughbred horse race, and North America's longest continuously.
"While Aaron would have liked to stay with his teammates at the World Cup of Hockey, we respect the decision for him to continue his evaluation and rehabilitation in Florida with the Panthers' team doctors", Team North America General Manager Peter Chiarelli said. We did some good stuff. North America's blazing fast play in exhibition games made it the most intriguing part of the World Cup, and that fascination is only stronger now that it showed it can thrive when it counts.
Sweden won its tourney opener as Gabriel Landeskog and Victor Hedman scored second-period goals in a 2-1 win over Russian Federation.
Team North America played its pre-tournament games in Quebec City, Montreal and Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby is the best hockey player on the planet in the present, but it's not a stretch to think McDavid is next to claim that honor in the very near future.
When youre a group of young players, youre looking for somebody just to take charge and settle it down, maybe get a shift or two under your belt, and we didnt get that quick enough, McLellan said. They stripped us a number of times.
But there's no doubt having Jack Eichel or Johnny Gaudreau or Dylan Larkin or Vincent Trocheck or defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere or this year's No. 1 pick, Auston Matthews, any one of them, would have made Team USA better. "If we're going to play with the puck, these guys start do something wrong for sure".
Ekblad was knocked into the boards by a hard hit from Leo Komarov in the North Americans' 4-1 win Sunday night. If we dont, we feel good about the group that we have..
"We got away from our game, trying to be too cute and getting pucks instead of going to the net going east to west too much", Matthews said. And their captain tagged as "the next one" Connor McDavid is front and center as the kids look to prove to the hockey world they are more than just alright.
"I thought we were hesitant", McLellan said.
The Russians lost their opener 2-1 to Sweden, which put an incredible amount of weight on Monday's contest.
Valtteri Filppula scored the only goal for Finland, late in the third period after the result was decided. "We didn't want to get into a run and gun type of game with the Russian team because that's where their strengths are".
"Obviously we knew we can't lose the game", said Russian Federation captain Alex Ovechkin.
You know, like in the Stanley Cup. you get it.
"I think some hockey god got on our side, and we just got good luck", said Kuznetsov, who made a "FIFA" inspired wing-flapping celebration after his goal. North America's defense had to fill several minutes with Aaron Ekblad out with an upper-body injury, replaced by Jacob Trouba.
In the space of 24 hours, the storylines for both teams went through the blender as Russia's frenzied, hair-on-fire 4-3 victory over the talented young North Americans evened both their records at 1-1.