IIHF World Championship Update: Canada, USA Advance to Playoffs
The Dallas Stars will have eight players in the World Championship playoffs on Canada, USA, Sweden and Finland rosters.
Defending Big D's coverage of the 2015 IIHF World Championship continues again today with another update. The Dallas Stars had nine of their players currently participating in the tournament during group play. Several will be out after group play finished yesterday and teams were eliminated. Read on to see who Dallas still has active in the playoff rounds.
For information regarding results, stats, and videos, visit the official IIHF website.
Here's a breakdown of how each Stars player is doing so far, separated by the countries that they are representing:
Canada's offense has been firing on all cylinders basically since the start of the tournament. They beat Austria soundly yesterday 10-1 in another show of just how frighteningly deadly the offense of The True North is. In the fireworks show Cody Eakin and Tyler Seguin were both held without a point. However, Jason Spezza keyed a lot of the offense in Canada's win, registering two goals and two assists. Here's some highlights of the Jason Spezza Show:
Canada won their group to advance to the playoff round. Dallas Stars players from the Canada roster ended group play with a combined 20 points (12 goals, 8 assists). In seven games played, Spezza recorded 4g, 7a, 11p; Seguin recorded 5g, 0a, 5p; and Eakin recorded 3g, 1a, 4p.
Spezza's efforts have him tied for the tournament lead in points with KHL forward Yevgeni Dadanov and Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene with 11 total points.
Sweden did not play yesterday, having already qualified for the playoffs the day prior. Sweden will meet Russia in the quarterfinals round, not an easy draw for Tre Kronor. John Klingberg finished group play with 1g, 3a, 4p in six games played. Jhonas Enroth played all seven games and will be expected to backstop Sweden to another World Championship medal. He ended group play with a respectable 2.34 goals against average but a less-than-awesome 88.89% save percentage. He'll need to be on top of his game against Russia.
Finland beat Russia in their last game of group play, advancing to the playoffs as well. Jyrki Jokipakka finished his seven games of group play with 2g, 0a, 2p while Esa Lindell finished his group play recording 1g, 5a, 6p for nearly a point-a-game pace.
Here's highlights of Finland's win over the Russians:
France put up a 3-2 win over Latvia to complete their group play but failed to qualify for the playoffs. Antoine Roussel really struggled in the tournament, finishing with just two assists in seven games. He did continue to rack up the penalty minutes as he is wont to do. Also an interesting note on France: Cristobal Huet was still on their roster at the age of 40. Who knew?
USA had to stave off a big push from Slovakia to win in overtime 5-4 on their last game of play. The USA may have finished group play at the top in their bracket with 17 points in seven games, but they lack the firepower of teams like Canada, Sweden and Russia. They have a young defense that allows a lot of goals as well, and will need to be better if they want a shot at a medal this year. Jack Campbell did not play in USA's last group play game, with Connor Hellebuyck getting the nod. It's unclear whether Campbell will play in the playoffs, but I would expect him to continue to serve as the backup considering Campbell's pedestrian 82.5% save percentage and 3.50 goals against average during group play.
Playoff Matchups Set
The playoff round will start tomorrow with all eight qualifying teams in action. Matchups are as follows:
USA v Switzerland (possibly on NBCSN and their Live Extra App)
Canada v Belarus (possibly on NBCSN and their Live Extra App)
Sweden v Russia
Finland v Czech Republic