Lundqvist headed for World semifinals

Swedes edge Czechs in OT; Tyutin also advances

Wednesday, 05.14.2008 / 3:46 PM / News
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Lundqvist headed for World semifinals
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP VIDEO
Highlights from Wednesday's Games Watch




MORE ON RANGERS AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

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Lundqvist stops 36 shots to beat Czech Republic
Dubinsky erupts for hat trick vs. Norway

PHOTO GALLERY: Lundqvist, Dubinsky in action

NOTE:
Catch video highlights from the World Championships online at wcsn.com

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, already an Olympic gold medalist, is now within two victories of his first World Championship gold after helping Sweden beat the Czech Republic 3-2 in overtime of a quarterfinal game on Wednesday in Quebec City.

Henrik Lundqvist
Lundqvist was outstanding, stopping 29 shots and keeping his team in the game after the Czechs had taken a 2-1 lead on a third-period penalty-shot goal by Radim Vrbata.

With the victory, the Swedes reached the World Championship semifinals for a remarkable eighth consecutive year. Sweden last won the World gold in 2006, but Lundqvist did not take part in that tournament after having played in the Olympics.

Sweden will next play against Canada, an 8-2 quarterfinal winner over Norway, in Friday's semifinals. The gold medal game is scheduled for Sunday in Quebec City, where Lundqvist could potentially face another Rangers teammate in Russia's Fedor Tyutin, who also advanced to the semifinals on Wednesday

Sweden's Mattias Weinhandl, a star in the Swedish Elite League, scored the Sweden-Czech game-winner at 3:15 of overtime, as he picked up the rebound of a shot by Anton Stralman and sent a diving backhander past Czech goaltender Milan Hnilicka.

Marcus Nilson, who also assisted on the game-winner, had scored perhaps the game's biggest goal at 16:22 of the third period. His shot from the left side found its way through a Rickard Wallin screen and past Hnlicka to make it 2-2 just over four minutes after Radim Vrbata had beaten Lundqvist with a backhand penalty shot to give the Czechs a big 2-1 lead with only 7:41 remaining.

Michal Rozsival
The loss was a disappointment for one of Lundqvist Rangers teammates, however, as Michal Rozsival saw his first major international tournament appearance come to an abrupt end. Shortly before the goal, Rozsival had played a key role in the Czechs' killing off an overtime power play, drawn by Weinhandl when he was pulled down by Martin Erat after getting in behind the Czech defense just 53 seconds into OT.

During the Swedish power play, Rozsival dove to block a shot and cleared the zone to break up a run of heavy pressure.

Rozsival finished the game third on the Czech team with 23:12 of ice time. He had one shot on goal in the third period but was robbed by Lundqvist.

In perhaps the most intriguing moment of the game for Rangers fans, Rozsival  picked up a loose puck in the high slot and blasted a slap shot toward the right side of the net. Lundqvist got his outstretched glove around it, however, preventing the Czechs from taking a 2-1 lead at the time.

The Czech Republic did eventually gain that lead when the Vrbata, a veteran NHLer with the Phoenix Coyotes, was pulled down by Swedish defenseman Jonas Frogren on a breakaway at 12:19 of the third. That set the stage for a penalty shot, and Vrbata made a clever deke move in front of Lundqvist before rifling a high backhand just under the crossbar.

Lundqvist immediately rebounded from that setback by making a tremendous save on Ales Kotalik at the 13:12 mark. Kotalik, who scored 23 goals for Buffalo this season, capitalized on a Swedish turnover and fired a shot that required Lundqvist to make a sprawling glove save.

The game was tied 0-0 after one period and 1-1 after 40 minutes on goals by Patrik Hornqvist on a power play at 7:43 of the second and Tomas Rolinek at the 10;28 mark. Rolinek's shot came after Lundqvist had stopped Ales Kotalik's shot with his left pad, and Rolinek was able to collect the rebound and send it up over the sprawling goaltender to tie the game.

Both teams finished the game with 31 shots on goal.

Fedor Tyutin
In Wednesday evening's games, Russia and Finland reached the semifinals with Russia routing Switzerland 6-0 and the Finns edging Team USA 3-2 in overtime. The Americans' loss ended a strong tournament run for the Blueshirts' Brandon Dubinsky.

Tyutin was part of a Russian team that improved to 6-0-0 since the start of the qualifying round. The Russians jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first 6:23 of the first period and never looked back. Tyutin had one shot on goal in the second period and saw 15:42 of ice time during the victory in Quebec City.

Over in Halifax, Nova Scotia, it was a tougher night for Dubinsky and Team USA, which was looking to pay Finland back for another 3-2 loss in the qualifying round.

Brandon Dubinsky
The Finns, who outshot the Americans 33-24, got the game's first goal from Tuomo Ruutu at 10:14 of the opening period and then went up 2-0 on a power-play tally by Janne Niskala at 5:45 of the second. Faced with a two-goal deficit after 40 minutes, the Americans refused to quit and rallied for two goals in the final five minutes of regulation.

Boston's Phil Kessel got the U.S. team going with only 4:16 left in the third, scoring with 17 seconds left in a 4-on-4 situation. Only 37 seconds later, the U.S. tied the game on an improbable shorthanded goal by Drew Stafford that forced a 10-minute overtime.

Finland ended up with the last laugh, however, when Sami Lepisto beat U.S. goalie Robert Esche just 3:59 into overtime to give the Finns a trip to the semifinals in Quebec City. Lepisto's goal was assisted by NHL stars Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne.

Coming off a hat trick against Norway, Dubinsky saw only 8:58 of ice time on Wednesday and did not get a chance to play in the overtime before Lepisto ended it. He finished with one shot on goal.

Friday's semifinal schedule has Finland facing Russia at 1 p.m. and Canada meeting Sweden at 5 p.m.