Jarkko Immonen and Mikko Koivu scored in the shootout to lift Finland to a 3-2 victory over Russia on Monday at the IIHF World Championship in Bratislava, Slovakia, in a game between two nations battling for positioning in the upcoming quarterfinal round.
Finnish goalie Teemu Lassila stopped Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexei Morozov in the penalty-shot tiebreaker. Alex Ovechkin, in his second game for Russia after joining the team following the completion of the Washington Capitals' season, was once again held off the score sheet.
"Penalty shots seem to be good for us in the tournament," Finnish coach Jukka Jalonen told the IIHF website. "Russia is a good team, but we tried hard and came back."
Finland took second place in Group E while Russia is fourth and awaits the winner of Canada-Sweden later Monday to learn its quarterfinal opponent.
Russia outshot Finland 14-3 in the first period and opened a 2-0 lead behind goals from Nikolai Kulyomin and Ilya Nikulin, with Kulyomin tipping in a Dmitri Kulikov point shot and Nikulin converting a pass from behind the goal line by Danis Zaripov.
Finland responded when Koivu made a neat play to deflect home a shot from the point by Pasi Puistola, then Janne Niskala tied the score with a rocket off a faceoff win by Immonen.
"We're pretty calm even if we're losing," defenseman Ossi Väänänen said. "We'll just go out and play, and we don't think too much. That's a pretty good place for a player to be in."
Ovechkin had an opportunity to give Russia back the lead when he went in on a breakaway midway through the third period, but Lassila turned him aside.
Tomas Plekanec scored twice and Jaromir Jagr collected three assists for the Czech Republic as it tuned up for a quarterfinal game against the United States by topping Germany in Bratislava.
Michael Frolik, Karel Rachunek and Patrik Elias also scored and Jakub Stepanek stopped 37 shots. The Czechs, who remain undefeated in tournament play, were going to face the U.S. regardless of their result Monday, but their win prevented Germany from moving up to second in their group.
Jagr set up Plekanec for the game's first goal, which deflected in off the stick of Germany's Justin Krueger. John Tripp quickly evened things up by putting home the rebound of a Kevin Lavellee shot, but the Czechs went back in front when Jiri Novotny found Frolik open in the slot. This time, his drive went off Korbinian Holzer and into the net.
In front to stay, the Czechs extended their lead in the second period as Rachunek one-timed a Jagr pass for a goal and then Plekanec deflected a misfired Jagr shot for a 4-1 lead. Elias converted a cross-ice pass from Petr Prucha before Germany closed the scoring on a Thomas Greilinger slap shot.
Marius Holtet has transformed into a scoring sensation at the Worlds, and as a result Norway has advanced to the quarterfinals for only the second time since the playoff-round format was introduced 19 years ago.
Holtet struck for four goals and Per-Åge Skrøder also scored for Norway in its win over France in Kosice. Holtet has six goals in the tournament after only scoring four this season for Färjestad Karlstad in the Swedish Elitserien.
"It was just one of those days when everything goes in," Holtet told the IIHF website. "It's not very often you get four goals in a game. It was a big game for us because now we don't have to rely on Switzerland losing to the United States to get in."
Along with France, the Swiss were eliminated from quarterfinal contention prior to their game against the U.S. later Monday. The only other time Norway reached the quarterfinals was in 2008.
After captain Laurent Meunier brought France to within a goal at 3-2 midway through the second, Holtet completed the hat trick with a 5-on-3 goal at 15:19, and he would add a fourth goal at 12:26 of the third.
Slovakia 4, Denmark 1
The host nation, already out of quarterfinal contention, earned a measure of pride as Miroslav Satan recorded a goal and an assist to lead a victory over Denmark in Bratislava.
Jozef Stumpel, Marian Hossa and Richard Zednik also scored for Slovakia, which held a 43-18 advantage in shots. Captain Pavol Demitra, who played over 800 NHL games split between five different teams, said afterward this was his final game for the national team.
"For me and everybody, it was very emotional," Demitra said about the post-game cheers he received. "You're going to remember it the rest of your life."