Russians set up revenge rumble

 

Team Canada, already on ropes, could soon be down for the count

 
 
 
 
Marvellous Evgeni Malkin of Russia is challenged by Finland's Sami Kapanen in qualification-round action Tuesday in Cologne, Germany.
 

Marvellous Evgeni Malkin of Russia is challenged by Finland's Sami Kapanen in qualification-round action Tuesday in Cologne, Germany.

Photograph by: Lars Baron, Getty Images, Agence France-Presse

Defending world champion Russia will get its grudge match against Olympic gold medallist Canada.

Evgeni Malkin's gang thrashed Finland 5-0 to qualify top in Group E at the World Hockey Championship.

Atlanta Thrashers forward Maxim Afinogenov picked up a goal and an assist, while goalie Semyon Varlamov recorded a shutout to set up a meeting in the last eight -- a replay of the quarterfinal at the Olympics which the Canadians won 7-3.

"With the new rules it is all about special teams and I think our penalty killing was great and the power play worked," Ilya Kovalchuk said. "It is important for the quarterfinal.

"We are pretty good. We have almost all the guys who played in the Olympics and we have a great atmosphere in the room.''

The Finns started the match in lively style pinning their rivals back and began peppering Varlamov with shots.

But Finland failed to find the net in the opening period missing all of their chances including a two-man power play as Russia defended stoutly, replying with threats on the counter-attacks to gain the lead at 16:42.

Veteran Sergei Fedorov netted the power-play opener taking a pass from Alexander Semin and sending the puck into an unguarded goal.

Penguins forward Malkin and the Maple Leafs' Nikolai Kulemin added one apiece within just 10 seconds in the second period. In the third, Alexei Emelin and Afinogenov added a goal each.

In the early Group E match, hosts Germany secured its place by beating 2002 champ Slovakia 2-1.

Alexander Barta and Daniel Kreutzer both collected a goal and an assist, while goalie Dennis Endras made 20 saves in the win.

"Yes, there was pressure to get back after our disastrous performance in Switzerland last year," said Canucks defenceman Christian Ehrhoff. "We got a lot of criticism after that.''

Germany, needing just a point to advance, went into the lead through Barta at 7:19 into the game.

Kreutzer made it 2-0 for Germany 4:42 into the second period.

Mark Svatos put Slovakia back on track when he reduced the deficit on power play with 43 seconds remaining in the second period.

Meanwhile, the Czech Republic, who needed a point in their Group F match with Canada to clinch a playoff place, battled back from a goal down to clinch a 3-2 win.

Ray Whitney put Canada 1-0 up 6:59 into the match sending the puck in between Czech goalie Tomas Vokoun's pads, but Lukas Kaspar levelled with 1:40 remaining before the first break with a short-handed goal on a breakaway.

Jaromir Jagr lifted his team to 2-1 on a redirect, while Jakub Klepis netted the Czechs' third on the power play.

Avalanche striker Matt Duchene narrowed the gap with 1:11 to go.

In the late Group F match Sweden blanked 5-0 Switzerland to finish top of the table.

Magnus Paajarvi Svensson netted a double, while Johan Harju, Victor Hedman and Fredrik Pettersson also scored for Sweden to record their side's well-deserved win.

In Thursday's other quarterfinals Finland will play the Czechs, Germany takes on Switzerland, and Sweden faces Denmark in the Scandinavian derby.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Marvellous Evgeni Malkin of Russia is challenged by Finland's Sami Kapanen in qualification-round action Tuesday in Cologne, Germany.
 

Marvellous Evgeni Malkin of Russia is challenged by Finland's Sami Kapanen in qualification-round action Tuesday in Cologne, Germany.

Photograph by: Lars Baron, Getty Images, Agence France-Presse

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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