Sports Canada-Russia rivalry to be renewed at worlds

06:37  20 may  2017
06:37  20 may  2017 Source:   MSN

Ovechkin finished playoffs on pain-numbing injections, won't join Russia at worlds

  Ovechkin finished playoffs on pain-numbing injections, won't join Russia at worlds Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will not join Russia at the World Championships this year because of a lower-body injury that required pain-numbing injections to close out the playoffs, the Russian Ice Hockey Federation announced Thursday. Ovechkin and the Capitals were eliminated by the Penguins in Game 7 of their second round series Wednesday, and while Ovi said he's ready toOvechkin and the Capitals were eliminated by the Penguins in Game 7 of their second round series Wednesday, and while Ovi said he's ready to join his countrymen, he didn't want to let his teammates down playing at less than 100 percent health.

Canada 's Sidney Crosby and Russia 's Alexander Ovechkin will lead their respective countries into Saturday's semifinal game at the World Cup of Hockey. Historically, Russia and Canada hold one of hockey's most heated rivalries .

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<span style=Canada hasn't won three straight gold medals at this tournament since the early 1950s. " src="/upload/images/real/2017/05/20/span-style-font-size-13px-canada-hasnt-won-three-straight-gold-medals-at-this-tournament-since-the-e_849442_.jpg" /> © Provided by thecanadianpress.com Canada hasn't won three straight gold medals at this tournament since the early 1950s. 

COLOGNE, Germany - Russia reached the podium at the last two world hockey championships but was forced to watch as the archrival Canadians took their perch on the top step.

The hockey powerhouses will meet again in Saturday's semifinal at the Lanxess Arena with Russia looking to eliminate any chance of its longtime foe winning gold for a third straight year.

Russia has looked very strong at the tournament even though star forwards Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin are not with the team. Artemi Panarin has 14 points in seven games and Russia leads all teams with 38 goals scored and just nine against. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has recorded three of Russia's four shutouts.

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Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin pumped to renew 'huge' Canada - Russia rivalry . Crosby and Canada teammate Patrice Bergeron also defeated Ovechkin and Russia in the gold-medal game at the 2005 World Junior Championship.

Crosby and Canada teammate Patrice Bergeron also defeated Ovechkin and Russia in the gold-medal game at the 2005 World Junior Championship. "It's nice to be a part of it, obviously, a rivalry game between two teams with a great history.

Canada coach Jon Cooper said he's not planning to make any major adjustments ahead of the showdown.

"I'm not a big believer in changing your gameplan," he said. "We've got a pretty good thing going right now. The guys are believing in what we're doing. Some of the big keys will be special teams, who's going to bend and who's going to break.

"This is Canada versus Russia. May the best team win."

Finland and Sweden will face off in Saturday's other semifinal. The medal games are set for Sunday.

Canada hasn't won three straight gold medals at this tournament since the early 1950s. The Czech Republic was the last team to three-peat (1999-2001).

Canada went 6-0-1-0 in the preliminary round to finish with a tournament-high 19 points, with the only loss coming in overtime to Switzerland. Canada edged Germany 2-1 in Thursday's quarter-final.

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The two longtime international rivals square off on Saturday night in World Cup of Hockey semifinal match. Please note, we are currently unable to process credit cards with a billing address in the European Union. Canada and Russia set to Renew Rivalry .

And now, in the semifinals of the World Cup of Hockey 2016, we have Team Canada against Team Russia at Air Canada Centre on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN2, CBC, TVA, TVA Sports). "This," Team Russia forward Vladimir Tarasenko said, " is one of the greatest rivalries ever."

The Russians, meanwhile, went undefeated in their first six games before dropping a 5-3 decision to the United States in their final game of the preliminary round. Russia bounced back by shutting out the Czechs 3-0 in the quarter-finals.

Russia won bronze as the host country in Moscow last year after dropping a 6-1 decision to Canada in the 2015 championship game. Russia last won gold in 2014.

"I've played against Russia a million times," said Canada forward Matt Duchene. "They're a high-octane offence. They like to make plays. If you play into their transition game, they're going to crush you."

Duchene is one of seven players on this year's Canadian team who won gold two years ago in Prague.

"It was a big test for us," Canada forward Nathan MacKinnon said of that game. "They had a really good team. They had Ovechkin, Malkin, a lot of good players, and we dominated, which was fun. That's definitely the best memory."

In their day jobs in the NHL, Vasilevskiy and forwards Nikita Kucherov and Vladislav Namestnikov play for Cooper as members of the Tampa Bay Lightning. That makes for some mixed emotions.

"You're always pulling for your players," said Cooper. "As this tournament has gone on, I've been pulling for Kuch (Kucherov) and Vladdy (Namestnikov) and I've been watching Vassy (Vasilevskiy) play goal and I'm really excited for the way he's playing. But for one game, I'm not going to be pulling for him.

"I love those guys. We've had success in the NHL and they deserve to be on Team Russia but it's not Jon Cooper versus Tampa Bay players. It's Canada versus Russia and that should be a lot of fun."

Russia outlasts Finland to earn bronze at worlds .
The Russians proved to be too much for Finland on Sunday at the World Championship in Cologne, Germany, as the Red Machine pulled out a 5-3 victory to earn the bronze medal.&nbsp;Nikita Gusev continued his hot streak with two goals and an assist, Valeri Nichushkin added three helpers, and Andrei Vasilevski made 26 saves in the win.

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