Today’s match up is the start of the semi-finals with the losers going home and back to their home teams and the other moves on to face the winner of tomorrow’s match up of Team Europe and Team Sweden in a three game series to determine the winner of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Team Russia 3 versus Team Canada 5

Nikita Kucherov – 1-1-2, +1, 8 SOG, 1 Hit, 15:33 TOI
Nikita Nesterov – 0-0-0, E, 1 SOG, 1 Hit, 6:47 TOI
Vladislav Namestnikov – 0-0-0, E, 1 Hit, 2 Blocks, 8:52 TOI
Andrei Vasilevskiy – DNP

Steven Stamkos – 0-0-0, +2, 1 SOG, 13:53 TOI

In a bit of a surprise line up change, Nikita Nesterov drew in for Russia as the 7th defenseman as forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Vadim Shiapchyov were scratched for the big game against Canada.

Canada controlled the game early and opened up the scoring as Sidney Crosby stole the puck in Russia’s zone and deked around Sergei Bobrovsky and put the puck into the back of the net. The second period would heat up a bit as Nikita Kucherov found the back of the net. Off of a faceoff win, Kucherov and Namestnikov went on a 2-on-1. With the pass taken away, Kucherov rung the puck off the far post and into the net to beat Carey Price and tie it up.

The Russians would come up with a dirty goal shortly after by Evgeni Kuznetsov and then Canada would tie it up very quickly with Sidney Crosby finding Brad Marchand. Tied up 2-2 going into the third period, the excitement continued with Marchand beating Bobrovsky on a wrister from the top of the circles to put Canada up 3-2. From there, Canada was off to the races pulling ahead to a 5-2 lead with four unanswered goals.

With two minutes left and down by three goals, the Russians pulled the goalie to get the extra skater on the ice. They did end up finding the back of the net to cut the lead to 5-3, but it was too little too late.

All night, Nikita Kucherov looked like the best forward on the ice for Russia. He was by far the leader for Russia with 8 shots on goal and led all players on the ice. His 15:24 TOI though was 7th among Russian forwards. Namestnikov’s 8:52 was lowest among forwards and Nesterov’s 6:47 TOI was lowest on Russia.

Steven Stamkos continued his trend of not being able to find the back of the net. He only had one shot on goal and 3 shots missed. He wasn’t as much of a factor after the first period. His 13:44 TOI was 9th among Canada’s forwards. Also, I have to say that ESPN’s commentators were appalling. Throughout the game, they harped on “Stamkos has no points in the World Cup.” He had an assist in the first game against the Czech Republic. Normally, commentators have a sheet in front of them with all of this kind of information in front of them. They finally caught themselves in the third period the third or fourth time they had mentioned it, and then correct themselves by saying “He got an assist earlier tonight.” Absolutely embarrassing from so called professionals.

Now, Vladislav Namestnikov, Nikita Nesterov, and Andrei Vasilevskiy will head to Tampa and join training camp towards the middle of the week. As for Nikita Kucherov, he remains un-signed and we’ll be waiting to see what happens over the next few days to see if a contract can be finalized soon.