Canada dominates Sweden to set up semifinal bout with U.S.
Finland to face Russia in other semi
After being thoroughly outclassed in its last round-robin game, Canada put its title defence back on track at the world hockey championship with a lopsided 6-0 quarter-final win over Sweden on Thursday.
Mark Scheifele and Mark Stone each had a goal and two assists as Canadians rebounded from a 4-0 shutout loss in their round-robin finale against Finland on Tuesday.
"We were all disappointed in our play in the Finland game," said defenceman Matt Dumba after the win. "We knew at the end of the day, that really meant nothing. We were still going to play three games and we had to take care of business against the Swedes."
The Canadians, who finished second in Group B with a 6-1 record, got back to their winning ways against the Swedes (3-2-2), who had finished in third place in Group A.
"Unfortunately for them, we played a great game tonight," Dumba said. "They played us hard for the first bit. We were just kind of overbearing and imposed our will on them."
Canada beat U.S. 5-1 in round-robin
Canada will face the United States in Saturday's semifinals. Canada beat the Americans 5-1 in its opening game of the round-robin.
Dumba, Brad Marchand, Max Domi and Derick Brassard also scored for Canada, while Cam Talbot made 24 saves for his tournament-leading third shutout.
Jacob Markstrom made 28 saves for Sweden.
Scheifele opened the scoring, deflecting a rippling point shot by Ryan O'Reilly over Markstrom's shoulder with 1:21 left to play in the first period.
Canada broke the game open in the second with three goals on eight shots against an underprotected Markstrom.
Dumba picked up his first goal of the tournament on the power play at 6:05 while Andre Burakovsky was serving minor and misconduct penalties for an illegal check to the head of Canadian defenceman Cody Ceci.
"Stoney just made a great play off the wall, buying me a little time, and I was able to get to the middle," Dumba said. "Hallsy (Taylor Hall) put a screen on the goalie. I don't think he saw it. It didn't really have anything to do with me, I was just trying to get it there."
"It was a huge goal, big-time goal," added head coach Bill Peters. "The power play wasn't smooth up to that point. It was very deep in the power play when we scored, so I like the play on that one and then on Marchie's goal, Dumba shot the puck again.
"He's a young guy who skates well and he's got a heavy shot. He used it to his advantage and helped our team tonight."
Marchand's third goal of the tournament at 12:02 put Canada up 3-0, prompting Swedish coach Par Marts to call time out to help his team regroup, but little-used Canadian forwards Domi and Sam Reinhart combined to put Canada up 4-0 just 11 seconds after the subsequent faceoff at centre ice.
Stone and Brassard added goals in the third.
Connor McDavid, who collected seven assists during the preliminary round, had a glorious chance to pick up his first goal of the tournament midway through the second period. He deked Swedish defenceman Adam Larsson and bore down on Markstrom, who challenged aggressively to make the save and send McDavid tumbling head-over-heels into the net.
Talbot promised to be better
After his first sub-par performance of the tournament against Finland on Tuesday, Talbot delivered on his promise to be better in the playoff round. His most crucial saves came early in the first period and when the Swedes came out pressing to start the third.
The Canadians also survived a long six-on-three disadvantage just over five minutes into the third. Brendan Gallagher and Morgan Rielly took penalties seven seconds apart, then the Swedes also pulled Markstrom for an extra attacker in a last-ditch attempt to get back into the game.
"You don't see that too often, but our guys did an unbelievable job," Talbot said. "I can't say enough about how well (the defence) kept the puck to the outside and made some huge blocks in front of me."
In earlier action on Thursday, top-ranked Finland dispatched Denmark by a score of 5-1 in St. Petersburg, while Auston Matthews was the shootout hero as the United States upset the Czech Republic 2-1. In the late game in Moscow, Russia got two goals from tournament leading scorer Vadim Shipachyov on their way to a 4-1 victory over Germany.
Both of Saturday's semifinals will be in Moscow, with Russia and Finland facing off in the other game.