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Worlds recap: Seven Lightning players are heading to the quarterfinals

Erik Cernak’s Slovakia have been eliminated

Canada v Germany: Group A - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Slovakia Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

With the NHL season over for the Tampa Bay Lightning, we will try to focus on several Lightning players who are representing their countries at the 2019 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia. Over the next two weeks, we are going to keep you up to date with their performance at the tournament, not forgetting about highlights from other games too.

Team Russia

Their game against Latvia was probably one of the most complicated for the Russian team at the World Championships. They allowed a goal on the second shot in the first period and it was the first time when they trailed in Slovakia. Things changed after the break: Dmitri Orlov scored 27 seconds into the second period, three minutes later Nikita Gusev scored too with Nikita Kucherov getting a secondary assist on the goal. Later in the period, Kucherov got his own chance.

The Latvians were very close to scoring in the third period. They outshot their opponents 30-26, but Vasilevskiy didn’t make any mistakes.

On the next day, the Russians faced Switzerland. Kirill Kaprizov, who was left out of the lineup the day before, returned to the Kuznetsov line. Alexander Barabanov, who played with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ovechkin in Kaprizov’s absence, became the 13th forward. Andrei Vasilevskiy didn’t play with Alexandar Georgiev starting in net instead.

The first half of the 1st period was probably the best for the Russians at the tournament so far. They were very active from the beginning, not allowing much in their defensive zone and applying pressure in the offensive zone, constantly forchecking their opponent. Alex Ovechkin has slowly started to look like himself, playing hard in every moment and shooting whenever he got a chance. Kaprizov had some chances too and finally played like he was expected.

Artem Anisimov scored first goal after Orlov went through the Swiss defense like it was...well...Swiss cheese.

In the second period, the Gusev-Kucherov duo proved their importance for the team again. Another goal after an excellent sequence on the power play with a couple of passes through the entire zone.

Kucherov and Gusev have been involved in more than a half of the goals by the Russian team so far.

Kucherov scored again in the third period on a backhand from Artem Anisimov. He currently leads the Worlds in points with six goals and eight assists.

The game ended 3-0. Georgiev made 34 stops and earned his second shutout in two games. The Russian team remains unbeaten at the Worlds and will face their main opponent Team Sweden on Tuesday.

Team Canada

As expected, the Canadians defeated Team France on Tuesday. Anthony Cirelli played again on the second line with Sean Couturier. He scored a goal in the first period after Couturier made a back pass.

The game ended 5-2 and Anthony Mantha scored another two goals.

The next game against Germany was surprisingly easy for Canada. The Germans had won every game before, but apparently couldn’t do anything against Canadian offense. Team Canada scored eight times and allowed just one goal by the Germans. Anthony Cirelli scored his third goal at the tournament. Mathieu Joseph added an assist on that goal.

Anthony Mantha is playing his best game at the World Championships. He already has seven goals and is leading the World Championship as the top scorer.

After five games, Canada is in third place in Group A. In the last days of group play, they’re facing Denmark and USA.

Team Slovakia

The Slovaks also won their last two games, but their next game against Denmark will be the last game for them at the tournament. After team USA defeated Germany on Sunday, Slovakia has been eliminated from the playoff race.

Even so, the hosting team left a good impression at the World Championships. They defeated team USA on opening day and were very close to victories against Germany and Canada, but very unlucky in the endings.

Team Czech Republic

Just as Team Russia did, the Czechs had some problems against Latvia in the first period. They allowed two goals after some poor defensive plays in the first twenty minutes.

They managed to return to the game in the second period. Ondrej Palat got his first point of the tournament with an assist on a Jan Kovar goal. By the end of the game, they’d scored five more times while Latvia, after a successful start, scored just one goal the rest of the game.

In the next two games, the Czech Republic outscored Italy and Austria 16-0. Even with all the goals, Palat and Rutta didn’t score. Between those games, Ondrej Palat was moved from the second line to the fourth. Per head coach Milos Riha, they are trying a new combination and by the next game, Palat could be back at the second line with Jakub Vrana and Radek Faksa, who has joined the team before the game against Latvia after the Dallas Start got eliminated in the NHL Playoffs.

The Czech Republic are currently in second place in Group B. They are three points behind Russia and three points ahead of Sweden who have a game in hand. The victory over Switzerland will secure them second place in the group.

The Others

There are just two days left in the group stage. Every participant of the quarterfinals is already known and in the next few days, every team will learn who their opponents in the playoffs will be.

Four teams are still fighting for survival in the elite division of the World Championships. The winners of the Austria-Italy and France-Great Britain games will be staying with the best national teams for one more year.

William Nylander is one of the main contenders for the MVP title. With 13 points, he’s just one point behind Nikita Kucherov, but has a game in hand. He has been excellent on both sides of the game and earned his team an important win over Switzerland on Saturday.

In this game he had 3 (1+2) points including this assist on a game-winning goal.

Johnny Gaudreau hasn’t played the last two games for team USA. Per reports he’s day-to-day and Luke Kunin has been added to the roster.

The standings after Day 10:

The top ten scorers after Day 10:

The top ten goalies by save percentage after Day 10: