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Worlds: Russia Tops Finland To Capture Gold Medal

Russia defeated Finland 5-2 in Minsk, Belarus to win gold at the 2014 IIHF World Championship while Sweden shuts out Czech Republic 3-0 for bronze on Sunday.

Sunday, 05.25.2014 / 8:45 PM ET / World Championship
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Worlds: Russia Tops Finland To Capture Gold Medal
Russia celebrates winning the gold at the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Belarus (IIHF Images)


Evgeni Malkin's (Pittsburgh Penguins) goal at 15:38 of the second period snapped a 2-2 tie and helped lead Russia to a 5-2 win against Finland in the gold-medal game of the 2014 IIHF World Championship on Sunday at Minsk Arena in Minsk, Belarus.

Sergei Shirokov, Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), Danis Zaripov and Viktor Tikhonov also scored to give Russia its fourth gold in the past seven years at Worlds (2008, 2009, 2012). The Russians also avenged a loss to Finland in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Sochi Olympics and won their fifth gold medal since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.

"It's a different tournament [after the Olympics], but it's great to win it," Russian forward Nikolai Kulyomin told the IIHF website. "We were all coming here to win. The Russian team is always playing to win."

Ovechkin, Russia's captain, finished with four goals and seven assists with a team-high 52 shots on goal in nine games. He sustained a right-leg injury during Russia's preliminary-round game against Germany.

Tikhonov led all scorers in the tournament with eight goals and 16 points. Right behind him was Russian teammates Darius Zaripov (13 points) and Sergei Plotnikov (t-12).

Shirokov opened the scoring at 10:45 of the first period after taking Zaripov's pass from down low, stepping into the left face-off circle and firing a shot past Finnish goalie Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators). The Finns tied it with three seconds left in the first when Jori Lehtera's pass through Russia's defense found Iiro Pakarinen, who beat Russian goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus Blue Jackets).

Olli Palola put Finland ahead 2-1 at 6:51 of the second when he gathered a rebound of Jarkko Immonen's shot and put one past Bobrovsky on the stick side. Ovechkin answered less than a minute later after taking a pass from Vadim Shipachyov and backhanding it past a diving Rinne to tie the game at 2-2 at 7:34 of the second.

Zaripov pushed Russia's lead to 4-2 4:24 into the third and Tikhonov completed the scoring with a power-play goal at 15:53.

Rinne, voted tournament MVP and named to the all-star team, made 34 saves for Finland, whose silver medal follows a bronze-medal showing at the Olympics and a gold-medal performance at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden, in January.

"Rinne was great all tournament and kept us in the game tonight with his play," Immonen told the IIHF website. "He carried us on his shoulders."

Bobrovsky countered with 24 saves for Russia, who played without coach Oleg Znarok after he was suspended for making an unsportsmanlike gesture toward Sweden's bench in a 3-1 semifinal win Saturday. Assistant coach Harijs Vitolins, currently coach of Dynamo Moscow, took over in Znarok's absence.

Russia will defend its title at the 2015 IIHF World Championship next May in the Czech Republic. Prague and Ostrava will be the host cities.

Sweden 3, Czech Republic 0: Sweden received goals from Joakim Lindstrom, Simon Hjalmarsson and Mikael Backlund (Calgary Flames) on Sunday at Minsk Arena in Minsk, Belarus, to capture the bronze medal at the 2014 IIHF World Championship.

The Czech's loss also ended Jaromir Jagr's international career. The New Jersey Devils forward announced that he's played his final game for the Czech national team. He will, however, return to the Devils for the 2014-15 regular season.

"This was for sure the last one," Jagr said. "It's not that I would think I'm not good enough for it. But this is a different hockey than I play. My hockey doesn't fit this style."

Sweden settled for the third-place game after a 3-1 loss to Russia on Saturday.

"It feels like a successful tournament even though we lost in the semifinal," Swedish forward Oscar Moller told the IIHF website. "We're going home with medals so we're really happy about that."

Swedish goalie Anders Nilsson (New York Islanders) stopped all 29 shots to hand the Czech Republic its second consecutive shutout loss. The Czechs were blanked 3-0 by Finland on Saturday.

"He's been phenomenal, not just [Sunday], but the whole tournament," Lindstrom said. "From game one, he's been our backbone on this hockey team."

Lindstrom opened the scoring at 4:28 of the first period when a pass intended for Moller in the slot was deflected by Czech defenseman Petr Zamorsky and past Czech goalie Alexander Salak.

The Czechs soon had a chance to tie the game while on the power play when Jagr corralled a rebound off a shot from Jakub Klepis, but shot it wide. Sweden would capitalize at 15:44 with Hjalmarsson's one-timer that completed tic-tac-toe passing from Mattias Ekholm and Nicklas Danielsson.

After a scoreless second period, Backlund received a backhand pass from defenseman Erik Gustafsson (Philadelphia Flyers) and beat Salak from just beyond the face-off spot at 8:22 of the third.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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