It was a loaded slate of games today as the 2016 IIHF World Championship reached the quarter-finals. Games involving New Jersey Devils players and personnel included the US versus the Czech Republic, Russia against Germany and Sweden taking on Canada.
Team USA, which is the team with the most Devils representatives on it, was able to get by the Czechs in a shootout at the Ice Palace in Moscow on the strength of two goals from Auston Matthews. Keith Kinkaid got the nod in goal and made 31 saves on 32 shots faced.
The Czechs took the early lead at 15:23 of the first when Tomas Zohorna scored on a penalty shot after Patrick Maroon was called for hooking. Kinkaid would shut the door completely after that.
Highly touted future NHL star Auston Matthews tied things up for the US just 1:27 into the second off assists to Frank Vatrano and Chris Wideman.
And that was the scoring for the game. After the final buzzer of the third period, the game went into overtime and that, too, produced a stalemate, with Czech goaltender Dominik Furch staying equal to Kinkaid. He made 26 stops on 28 American shots faced.
A shootout was necessary to determine who would be moving on to the semi-finals. Lukas Kaspar went first for the Czechs and was stopped. Matt Hendricks was the first shooter for John Hynes and he was stopped too. Petr Koukal shot next for the Czech Republic and Kinkaid turned him aside. Finally, Matthews broke through to beat Furch in what would be the game winner for the Americans. Kinkaid stopped Zohorna to end things and the Americans would be moving on with a 2-1 victory.
Other Devils stat lines included Miles Wood, who had two penalty minutes in 5:46 of ice time spread over seven shifts and David Warsofsky, who also had two penalty minutes in 18:14 of ice time (25 shifts). Steve Santini was scratched for the game.
The US moves on to face the winner of Canada-Sweden in the semi-finals on Saturday.
And speaking of Canada-Sweden, they were the later game played at the Yubileiny Arena in St. Petersburg. This one was all Canada from start to finish.
Cam Talbot posted the 6-0 shutout, equal to all 24 Swedish shots. Sweden’s Jacob Markstrom made 28 saves on 34 shots by the Canadians in taking the loss.
Mark Scheifele started the barrage late in the first period at 18:39 on a goal with assists to Ryan O’Reilly and Mark Stone.
Canada took a 2-0 lead while on the power play six minutes into the second period. Andre Burakovsky had been called for an illegal check to the head and received a ten minute misconduct. Matt Dumba scored on the ensuing power play from Stone and Scheifele.
The Canadians would strike again at the 12:02 mark of the second when Brad Marchand scored from Dumba and Scheifele. Eleven seconds later, it was Canada taking a 4-0 lead when Max Domi buried one from Sam Reinhart and Michael Matheson.
Canada topped off the scoring in the third period when Mark Stone scored his third point of the night (one goal, two assists) unassisted 11:05 into the frame. About two and a half minutes later, Derick Brassard would finish things off when he scored with assists to Brendan Gallagher and Taylor Hall.
And that was it. Final score: 6-0, Canada, who will now take on North American rivals, the USA in the semi-finals.
For Sweden, Adam Larsson had two total shots on goal, was a minus-1 all in a team-leading 25:06 of ice time over 33 shifts.
Back to the Ice Palace in Moscow, the later game there featured Russia taking on Germany. This was a closer game than the Canada-Sweden matchup, but in the end, Russia moved on.
Germany took a quick lead just 4:45 into the game when Patrick Reimer scored on goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. That was the only goal of the night for the Germans. From here on out, it was all Russia.
Just 40 seconds into the second period, Vadim Shipachyov scored from Yevgeni Dadonov and Anton Belov to knot things up at one.
Under seven minutes later, Dadonov would give the tournament hosts the 2-1 lead, a lead that they would not relinquish. Shipachyov had the lone assist on that goal.
Russia furthered their lead to 3-1 at 14:14 when Shipachyov scored with Ivan Telegin getting the only assist there.
Alex Ovechkin notched his first goal of the tournament to give the Russians the 4-1 victory from Yevgeni Kuznetsov and Roman Lyubimov just 2:45 into the final frame.
Bobrovsky made 19 saves on just 20 German shots as he got the win. German goalie Thomas Greiss made 33 saves on 37 shots faced in the loss.
Devils-wise, Sergei Kalinin registered a shot in 11:12 of ice time over 16 shifts.
Russian will now move on to play Finland in the semi-finals on Saturday.
One other note before finishing up, as the Devils did have a prospect playing for Belarus. Artur Gavrus registered two goals in the tournament for the Belarusians, who did not advance to the quarter-finals. Gavrus, according to the Devils’ official website, is 22 years-old and has played the last three seasons in the KHL for Dynamo Minsk.