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Russians edge Swedes in final seconds

Ovechkin goal beats Lundqvist, spoiling 39-save performance

Saturday, 05.10.2008 / 9:29 PM / News
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Russians edge Swedes in final seconds
MORE ON RANGERS AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Lundqvist shines as Sweden routs Denmark
Tyutin a winner in first game for Russia

The World Championship tournament has a long history of putting NHL teammates on opposite sides of the ice from each other, which is why Saturday's qualifying-round game between Sweden and Belarus in Quebec City was a split decision for Rangers fans.

Fedor Tyutin
On the positive side, Blueshirts defenseman Fedor Tyutin got to be part of a thrilling 3-2 win for the Russians, a game that saw Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin scored the winning goal with only six seconds left in regulation time.

On the negative side, the goalie victimized by Ovechkin's winner was Henrik Lundqvist, who had an otherwise stellar game. Just as he did so many times for the Rangers in 2007-08, Lundqvist kept the Swedes in the game by stopping 39 of 42 shots on a day when his Swedish teammates fired only 30 at Lundqvist's fellow Vezina Trophy finalist Evgeni Nabokov.

The Lundqvist-Nabokov duel lived up to expectations as one of the best goaltending matchups of the qualifying round, and it might have gone all the way to a shootout had Ovechkin not scored.

"I think we stuck to the game plan well tonight, and played as a team, as we were supposed to," Lundqvist told IIHF.com.

Henrik Lundqvist
Lundqvist was outstanding in the first period with 15 saves, and he stopped another 11 in the middle period before giving up the Russians' first goal of the game to Alexander Semin at 12:14. Sweden held a 2-1 lead entering the third period, but Sergei Fedorov scored at 4:57 to tie matters and set the stage for Ovechkin.

Tyutin fired three of Team Russia's 42 shots at Lundqvist, with all three coming in the first period. He finished the game with 13:58 of icetime, helping the Russians improve to 4-0-0 against qualifying-round teams and retain first place in Group E.

Sweden, meanwhile, slipped to 2-2-0 in the qualifying round and is now tied for third place. The top four teams in Group E will reach the medal round.

In another Group E game at Quebec City on Saturday, Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival helped the Czech Republic beat Belarus 3-2 in an overtime shootout.

Michal Rozsival
Rozsival finished the game with three first-period shots and 19:36 of icetime. Paired on defense with Filip Kuba, he was also on the ice for a second-period goal by teammate Tomas Rolinek, tying the score at 1-1.

Belarus goaltender Vitali Koval kept the score close with a remarkable 41 saves against the Czechs, including his three stops on Rozsival. The Czech Republic improved to 3-0-1 in the Group E qualifying round and is just one point behind first-place Russia.

Sunday's tournament games involving Rangers players include Brandon Dubinsky on the ice for Team USA vs. Finland and another Rangers showdown between Lundqvist's Swedish team and Rozsival's Czech squad.