Sunday, July 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Russia sets up World Cup semifinal with Canada; U.S. ends with loss

TORONTO — The Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko and KHL player Ivan Telegin scored 1:19 apart in the second period and Russia beat Finland 3-0 Thursday to set up a World Cup of Hockey semifinal against Canada and knock out the under-23 North America team. The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin scored in the third period for Russia, and the Blue Jackets' Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves.

Russia faces Canada on Saturday night. In the other semifinal, Sweden plays Europe on Sunday. "The opportunity is huge," Russian captain Alex Ovechkin said. "(Canada has) a pretty good team with solid players. We just have to match it."

Finland, with the Lightning's Valtteri Filppula, was winless (0-3) for the first time in a senior tournament, scoring one goal.

U.S. ends with a whimper: The Americans ended their World Cup with a 4-3 loss to the Czech Republic, and at 0-3 they leave Toronto winless in a senior tournament for the first time since the 1982 World Championship.

The Lightning's Ben Bishop started in goal for the United States and allowed four goals on 20 shots in two periods. The Devils' Cory Schneider played the third period and saved all seven shots he faced. The Sharks' Joe Pavelski, the Rangers' Ryan McDonagh and the Red Wings' Justin Abdelkader scored. Lightning defenseman Andrej Sustr scored for the Czechs (1-1-1).

Before the game, U.S. general manager Dean Lombardi didn't back down from the team he, his management group and coach John Tortorella selected and the style they chose to play in the wake of heavy criticism.

The Kings' GM, who has built two Stanley Cup winners, said he would have done four or five things differently, most notably preparing his team to face Europe in its first game and not focus on Canada. But Lombardi defended the decision not to take more skilled players such as the Lightning's Tyler Johnson because he believes the United States couldn't match Canada's depth of talent, so it tried to win another way: "I think that our game allows emotion, competitiveness, caring about each other (to) close that (skill) gap more than any other sport."

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