After a disappointing loss to the Americans earlier in the week, the Russians returned to the ice to take on Denmark on Wednesday, taking the 5-2 result in a game that was close up until the end.
In the early stages of the first, it appeared as though the Russians were taking a more conservative approach to allow the Danes to tire themselves out. In fact, the shots were tied at three apiece after ten minutes of play, while the Danes looked to have more puck control right off the bat. Denmark was playing down a players today, with Jesper B. Jensen and Mathias Bau Hansen sitting out with suspensions while Oliver Bjorkstrand, one of the stars at the 2015 World Championships in Canada, arrived too late to get registered in time.
The Russians would score first. With the Russians on their first power-play of the game, World Championship top scorer Evgeni Dadonov sent a pass to Artemiy Panarin, who fired the fast slap shot past Sebastian Dahm for the 1-0 goal.
Panarin has gained a lot of interest from around the world recently, as the newest Chicago Blackhawk forward was recently called the best player in the KHL by fellow teammate Viktor Tikhonov. Panarin has been a member of an incredible Russian first line, featuring Dadonov, who was able to score his seventh point, and Vadim Shipachyov, one of the more dangerous centremen at the Euro Hockey Tour this year.
With seven minutes to go, the Russians would make it 2-0. Once again, another dominant line would find the back of the net, as Evgeni Malkin fed all-time leading KHL leading scorer Sergei Mozyakin for the one-timer that Dahm had no business stopping.
The Danes would be the next to score. The Russian defense was just allowing Denmark to skate around in the zone, trying to grab their first goal before they end up getting too tired. Morten Green was able to exploit Russia’s poor defensive effort, skating from the right corner before banking the puck off of Dimitri Kulikov for the 2-1 goal. Green was able to do this thanks to Ilya Kovalchuk, Artem Anisimov and Evgeni Malkin playing out of position, allowing the unchallenged Green to walk in and put it past Sergei Bobrovsky.
It’s been well documented how Dadonov has been dominant at this tournament. With the second period coming to a close, Dadonov would tip in the original shot from Evgeni Medvedev to grab his second point of the game and eighth goal of the tournament to make it 3-1 Russia.
The Danes weren’t going to give up. With 11 minutes to go, Morten Poulsen forced Russian forward Sergei Shirokov to turn it over behind the net, sending the puck over to Thomas Spelling. Spelling would then skate in and wire a shot past Bobrovsky, who was screened by Shirokov on the play that made it 3-2. The goal was another example of Denmark exploiting Russia’s defense, who were doing them no favours for most of the game once again.
Fortunately for the Russians, they’re offense was ready for the challenge. The team would score two goals in the dying minutes of the game, with Mozyakin scoring his second of the game after some solid passing by Malkin and Nikolai Kulemin. Shortly after, Vladimir Tarasenko would finish the game off with the 5-2 goal after beating Dahm with a beautiful snipe, capping off the Russian victory.
Denmark will have their best chance to grab a victory after their Friday matchup against the Americans, thanks to meetings with Norway and Slovakia. Russia, who have three wins at this tournament, will get a few days off before taking on Belarus on Saturday morning at 6:15am EST.
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