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  • World Cup of Hockey Day 3: Team Europe on the brink

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    World Cup of Hockey Day 3: Team Europe on the brink

    Tim Rosenthal September 20, 2016

    The last thing that the Americans needed was for Europe to continue its improbable run.

    Two days after they began the World Cup of Hockey with an upset of Team USA, Team Europe edged the Czech Republic with Leon Drasiatl’s overtime winner, 3-2, and went to 2-0 in pool play.

    Entering the tournament with a 33-1 odds of winning the World Cup, Europe is now one step closer to reaching the semifinals, which take place this weekend. A USA loss to Canada tonight will indeed give the Europeans that spot.

    “I just never believed those numbers,” Team Europe coach Ralph Kruger told the press following yesterday afternoon’s victory. “We’ve never used any negative motivators in our process. It’s always been about us finding our potential, and the belief that we could match with anybody here at this tournament.”

    Bruins captain Zdeno Chara put together another solid showing for the Europeans scoring a first period goal and delivering four hits and two blocked shots in 19:50 of ice time. The 6-foot-9 defenseman played well in all three zones, especially on the defensive end, a sight that is certainly appreciated in Boston after his rough season (by Chara’s standards) a year ago.

    Fellow Boston teammate David Pastrnak wasn’t as fortunate to stick around as long. The 20-year-old tallied two shots in 9:22 of ice time and had his ice time limited in the later moments with the Czech’s in desperation mode to tie the game and save their tournament hopes.

    Russians keep hopes alive

    Two days ago, Team Russia was stymied by Jacob Markstrom as he filled in remarkably for Henrik Lundqvist in Sweden’s 2-1 win. A few hours later, the under-23 North American squad put on a clinic against Finland in a 4-1 triumph.

    What a difference 24 hours make for Russia and North America.

    Desperate for a victory to stave off elimination, Russia responded to that loss to Sweden by the form of four unanswered goals in the second period. In a span of 4:14, the Russians got goals from Vladislav Namestnikov, Nikita Kucherov, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Vladimir Tarasenko.

    Sergei Bobrovski stood tall with 43 saves — 35 coming in the second and third periods — and helped the Russians whether two North American two-man advantages in the final stanza to secure the 4-3 victory.

    What to watch for on Day 4

    The two other teams from Pool B will face each other this afternoon as Sweden looks to take one more step towards clinching a spot in the semis when they take on Finland. While Pekka Rinne put in a solid 39-save effort against North America on Sunday, head coach Lauri Marjamaki has not tipped his cap on whether he’ll start the Preds netminder or Tuukka Rask this afternoon. Come 3 p.m., we’ll find out whether the Bruins’ workhorse will get his first start at the tournament, or if Marjamaki will continue to ride Rinne.

    The 8 p.m. main event features another chapter of the Canada-USA rivalry. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Sidney Crosby will be front and center as Canada looks to clinch a spot in the semis, while David Backes could be a healthy scratch given yesterday’s practice lines in preperation of their must-win situation.

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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