Russia rides Evgeni Malkin's back to hockey worlds final
Penguins centre paces attack with hat trick in 6-2 victory over Finland
Russia and Slovakia will meet in the world hockey championship final on Sunday for the first time since the Slovaks won their only title a decade ago against the Russians.
After Evgeni Malkin scored a hat trick to lead Russia to a 6-2 rout of host Finland in Helsinki, Slovak forward Miroslav Satan scored twice to help beat the Czech Republic 3-1 in the second semifinal on Saturday.
Malkin, the NHL regular-season scoring king for the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins this season, scored twice in the first period against defending champ Finland and completed the hat trick in the second period.
The crowd threw red hats on the ice to celebrate the three goals.
"I have never experienced such things," Malkin said. "It was fantastic to see."
Satan scored his first goal at 15:52 in the first period. He broke away when Slovakia was a man short, earning his second goal at 0:56 in the third period. Forward Jiri Hudacek added another at 4:56.
Michael Frolik scored for the Czechs at 10:45, tying the game at 1-1.
Finland opened the scoring when defender Janne Niskalas deflected a blue-line shot at 7:28, but Malkin evened the score at 15:33 shooting through a crowd, and he connected from the slot at 19:06 on a power play. Alex Ovechkin made it 3-1, and Malkin's hard slapshot found the far corner at 17:46 in the second period.
In the third period, Denis Kokarev, and Sergei Shirokov increased the lead to 6-1. Mikael Granlund scored Finland's second goal with four minutes left.
Before Malkin's third goal, he lost his balance and smashed into the board charged by Finnish defender Joonas Jarvinen. The Finn went out for tripping, but Malkin went down after slipping. The Russian star disappeared for treatment, but came back after some six minutes, losing four or five shifts in the process.
"I was lucky, I was going at high speed and could not evade the contact," Malkin said. "But our doctor gave my hand some freezing treatment, and I could continue."