By Bryan Burns – TampaBayLightning.com
Canada 6, Belarus 0
Brayden Point is starting to find his groove for Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
A day after scoring his first goal of the tournament, Point continued his assault on opposing nets, putting up two more goals in Canada’s 6-0 shutout of Belarus in Paris on day four of tournament preliminary round play.
Canada, led by Lightning head coach Jon Cooper, has three wins in three games to start the tourney and has outscored opponents 17-3.
Point netted Canada’s first goal to give his team a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. The Lightning center who just completed his rookie season with the Bolts took Mitch Marner’s backhanded centering feed and one-timed a shot from the top of the right circle to the upper far post to get Canada on the board.
At 14:42 of the third period, Point netted his second goal of the game, using a toe drag to beat Belarus goaltender Mikhail Kamaukhov, again over the right shoulder.
Point now ranks tied for second in the tournament for goals, trailing only Canada teammate Nathan MacKinnon (5).
Fellow Bolts forward Alex Killorn, who had three shots in 12:09 time on ice against Belarus, is still searching for his first tournament point.
Canada, the Group B leader, is the only team in the tourney to win all three of its opening games in regulation and will next take on host France Thursday in Paris.
Belarus has yet to earn a point in three tournament contests.
Russia 6, Germany 3
Team Russia doubled up host Germany 6-3 in Cologne for its third win in three tournament games and second-straight win in regulation.
Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov netted a pair of tallies for his second and third goals of the tournament.
In the second period, Kucherov capitalized on a turnover by the Germans at the Russian blue line for a breakaway chance he was able to convert past Thomas Greiss to put Russia up 5-0.
After Germany had cut Russia’s lead to 5-2 in the third period, Kucherov put the game out of reach with his second goal of the game and a 6-2 advantage for Russia, which now has eight of a possible nine points through three preliminary round games and tops Group A.
Kucherov led Russia for time on ice (21:33). He has six points (3 goals, 3 assists) through three games and ranks tied for fifth in the tournament for scoring.
Andrei Vasilevskiy got his third tournament win in as many games after making 26 saves on 29 shots. Vasilevskiy has put up a 1.82 goals-against average and .921 save percentage through three games for Russia.
Vladislav Namestnikov was held without a point against Germany a day after putting up four against Italy. Namestnikov finished plus-one with one shot in 17:21 of action on Monday.
Russia will have two days off before playing Denmark on Thursday.
Germany has now lost two straight after opening the tournament with an upset victory over the United States.
United States 4, Sweden 3
The United States pulled off a hard-fought, come-from-behind 4-3 win over Sweden in Cologne after falling behind 3-2 in the first period.
Johnny Gaudreau netted the game-tying goal in the second period, his second goal of the game, and J.T. Compher tallied the winning goal in the third to provide United States its second-consecutive victory after opening the World Championship with a loss to Germany.
Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman scored his first goal of the tournament in the first period for Sweden. Hedman now has three points (goal, 2 assists) in the tourney. Lightning blueliner Anton Stralman picked up an assist in the loss, his third assist of the World Championship.
Hedman led the Swedes for time on ice (26:01), and Stralman ranked second (23:20).
The United States moves into a tie for second place in Group A with six points. Sweden now has a win, a loss and a shootout loss in the tourney and occupies fourth place in Group A (four points).
The United States will play again Wednesday versus Italy. Sweden next faces Latvia on Thursday.
Czech Republic 4, Finland 3 (S/O)
Robin Hanzl’s successful shootout conversion turned out to be the difference in the Czech Republic’s 4-3 victory over Finland in Paris, a game in which the Czech Republic trailed 3-0 entering the third period but scored three-straight goals to force extra time.
The Czech Republic has won two straight and moves into a tie for second place in Group B with five points. Finland is in fourth place in Group B with a win, a loss and a shootout loss (four points) through three games.