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Bo Horvat and Canada head to Copenhagen to face Russia in QFs at Worlds

May 16, 2018, 7:03 AM ET [362 Comments]
Carol Schram
Vancouver Canucks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
When last we spoke, Team Canada had two games left to play in its round robin, with its playoff seeding very much in jeopardy.

The boys came through all right, needing a spectacular overtime goal by Connor McDavid to clinch a quarterfinal berth in Monday's game against Latvia, then finishing off with a solid but unspectacular 3-0 win over Germany on Tuesday.

Canada finished up the round robin with four regulation wins, one overtime win (Latvia), one shootout loss (USA) and one outright loss (Finland). With 15 points, they wrapped up the round robin in third place in Group B, one point behind Finland and the U.S.

For the first time in my four years of covering this tournament, that means Canada will be the underdog in the quarterfinal. Their opponent wasn't determined until the final game in Copenhagen, where Anders Nilsson shut the door in Sweden's 3-1 win over Russia, giving Sweden first place in Group A with 20 points. The defending champs are tops in the tournament, with only an overtime win against the now-eliminated Slovaks to sully their near-perfect record.

Russia finished second in Group A with 16 points, losing 1-0 to Sweden in regulation and 4-3 in overtime to the Czechs.

Of interest to Canuck fans: our pal Nikita Tryamkin was scratched for Russia's game against Sweden. I haven't seen any reports of an injury, so I assume this was simply a roster move. The Russians did add defenseman Alexei Bereglazov from Metallurg of the KHL on May 11, giving them eight blueliners on their roster.

In six games, Tryamkin had one assist and was a plus-four, averaging a relatively conservative 12:04 of ice time per game. I wonder if we'll see him on Thursday.

For Canada, Bo Horvat did not hit the scoresheet in the final two games. He played 10:50 against Latvia and 10:45 against Germany as Bill Peters shuffled his forwards in an attempt to spark his team offensively.

Bo hasn't had a lot of faceoff duty but I did notice his group taking at least one offensive draw over the past couple of days. Horvat has been playing primarily with Jordan Eberle and Tyson Jost, but had been swapped out for Pierre-Luc Dubois when Jost scored in the third period against Germany on Tuesday.

As a Canadian player from a Canadian team, Bo got the "Dreger Cafe" treatment on Tuesday:

The interview is worth a watch: Bo talks about the learning experience that comes from being at Worlds, his high hopes for the prospects coming into Vancouver and what he learned in his first training camp after being drafted, when he saw Daniel and Henrik Sedin dstroy the fitness testing under John Tortorella.

As for the Russians—I must admit, I hadn't expected to have another chance to see the Magic Man play hockey. After winning his Olympic gold and joining the Triple Gold Club in Pyeongchang in February, Pavel Datsyuk leads the Russian team with 10 points in seven games.

Datsyuk's playing on Russia's top line with 25-year-old KHL vet Nikita Gusev (4 points) and young gold-medal hero Kirill Kaprizov, who has continued to light the lamp with six goals and eight points in seven games so far.

Beyond that top line, there are only a few other familiar names from the NHL on the Russian team:

• Artem Anisimov - Chicago Blackhawks
• Pavel Buchnevich - New York Rangers
• Nikita Zaitsev - Toronto Maple Leafs
• Mikhail Grigorenko - once of the Buffalo Sabres and Colorado Avalanche, now with CSKA Moscow
• Nikita Soshnikov - last season, with the Toronto Maple Leafs and St. Louis Blues
• Evgeny Dadonov - Florida Panthers
• Nikita Nesterov - previously from the Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens, now with CSKA Moscow

Perhaps it's just as well that Canada doesn't meet Sweden in the quarters. That would cause divided loyalties for Canucks fans, with Anders Nilsson now firmly in control of the starting job.

Nilsson has an impressive .951 save percentage from his four games to date, second in the tournament to only Harri Sateri of Finland.

As usual, his fashion game has also been on point in the streets of Copenhagen.

Game face 🇸🇪

A post shared by Anders Nilsson (@andersnilsson31) on

I'm so bummed that I won't get to see Tryamkin or Elias Pettersson now that I'm finally making my way to Copenhagen. Here's the prognosis on Pettersson's injury:

If that timeline is accurate, he should be healthy in time for the Canucks' development camp week, which I expect will be in early July once again. That's where he won me over last year, with his two great goals at the Summer Showcase at Rogers Arena.

Today's an off day here in Denmark. Canada and Latvia are travelling to Copenhagen to take on Russia and Sweden, respectively, while David Pastrnak and the Czechs will head to Herning to meet Team USA and the Swiss team, captained by ex-Canuck Raphael Diaz, will play Finland.

I'm on the train to Copenhagen right now.

Based on the fact that TSN's Darren Dreger, Gord Miller and Ray Ferraro are among the passengers in the next car, it seems I'm headed in the right direction—and was finally organized enough to travel at a civilized time this year!
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