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WJC roundup: Lundell powers unbeaten Finland past Slovakia at WJC –



Day 6 games

Russia 4, Sweden 3 (OT): Marat Khusnutdinov (Minnesota Wild) scored a power-play goal with six seconds remaining in overtime, and Russia ended Sweden’s 54-game preliminary-round winning streak in a Group B game at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship on Wednesday.

Russia got a power play when Sweden forward Arvid Costmar (Vancouver Canucks) was called for holding with 25 seconds left in overtime. Russia gained possession, and Rodion Amirov (Toronto Maple Leafs) carried the puck to the net. Sweden goalie Jesper Wallstedt (2021 NHL Draft eligible) made the save, but Khusnutdinov knocked the rebound under his pads for the winning goal.

It’s the first time Sweden has lost a preliminary-round game since Dec. 31, 2006, when it lost to the United States.

Amirov had a goal and two assists, Khusnutdinov had a goal and an assist, and Egor Afansasyev (Nashville Predators) and Kirill Kirsanov (2021 draft eligible) scored for Russia (2-1-0-1, eight points). Iaroslav Askarov (Predators) made 33 saves.

Alexander Holtz (New Jersey Devils) had a goal and an assist for Sweden (2-0-1-0, seven points), and Costmar and Noel Gunler (Carolina Hurricanes) scored. Wallstedt made 31 saves.

Gunler scored with 1:00 left in the third period to tie the game 3-3. With Wallstedt pulled for an extra attacker, Holtz’s shot from the point went in off Gunler’s shin pad.

Russia took a 3-2 lead at 9:46 of the third on Kirsanov’s goal from the left face-off circle.

Afanasyev gave Russia a 1-0 lead at 7:28 of the first period when he scored from the slot off a pass by Mikhail Abramov (Maple Leafs).

Costmar tied it 1-1 at 14:33 when he scored on a backhand in front.

Amirov put Russia ahead 2-1 with a power-play goal with 46 seconds left in the first off a setup by Vasiliy Podkolzin (Canucks).

Holtz tied it 2-2 at 15:59 of the second period. He missed an open chance from the slot but got to his rebound below the goal line. He threw the puck in front, and it bounced off Askarov and into the net.

Russia next plays in the quarterfinals Saturday. Sweden plays the United States on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN).

Germany 5, Switzerland 4: Tim Stuetzle (Ottawa Senators) and John-Jason Peterka (Buffalo Sabres) each scored five points, and Germany clinched third place in Group A with its first win of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship on Wednesday.

Stuetzle, the No. 3 pick of the 2020 NHL Draft, scored two goals and had three assists. Peterka scored a hat trick and had two assists. Florian Bugl (2021 NHL Draft eligible) made 31 saves for Germany (1-1-0-2, five points), which will play in the quarterfinals Saturday.

Since the current tournament format was adopted in 1996, it’s the first time Germany will play in a playoff round.

“It’s very important, maybe even a historical moment for us,” Germany coach Tobias Abstreiter said. “We reached the quarterfinals now. … With all the conditions, the obstacles we had to [face], the team made a big impact and always believed in themselves. It’s unbelievable what they achieved and every player can be proud.”

Germany played with 12 forwards and seven defensemen for the first time after being limited to nine forwards and five defensemen during its first three games because of coronavirus issues.

“Everybody knew our situation, we were down to 14 guys,” Stuetzle said. “I’m so proud of the team. It’s just special how everybody is working together. I think we totally deserve it. And I’m so excited and can’t wait to play the quarterfinals.”

Switzerland (0-0-0-4, zero points) scored four times in the third period. It will finish last in Group A.

Ronny Daehler (2021 draft eligible) had a goal and an assist, and Noah Delemont (2021 draft eligible), Noah Meier (2021 draft eligible) and Simon Knak (2021 draft eligible) scored for Switzerland. Thibault Fatton (2021 draft eligible) made 20 saves.

“Last 20 minutes was probably the best 20 minutes from our team,” Switzerland coach Marco Bayer said. “We started again not good in the first, I was really loud in the first [intermission] to wake them a little bit up and then I think we played well, had some great chances.”

Peterka scored on the rebound of a Stuetzle shot at 4:38 of the first period to give Germany a 1-0 lead, and Stuetzle made it 2-0 at 9:08 when he scored after taking a pass at the Switzerland blue line and muscling round defenseman Cedric Fiedler 2021 draft eligible). Peterka scored a power-play goal to make it 3-0 with 2:44 remaining in the first.

Stuetzle scored his second goal for a 4-0 lead at 13:19 of the second period.

Delemont scored Switzerland’s second goal of the tournament at 9:59 of the third period to make it 4-1, and Daehler made it 4-2 at 10:55.

Peterka completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal at 17:39 of the third period that made it 5-2, but Germany forward Justin Volek was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for cross-checking with 2:01 remaining.

With Fatton pulled for an extra attacker and a 6-on-4 advantage, Meier made it 5-3 with 1:46 remaining, and Knak scored with 24 seconds left to make it 5-4.

Bugl made his biggest save with 17 seconds left against Raymond Fust (2021 draft eligible) from the crease.

Finland 6, Slovakia 0: Anton Lundell (Florida Panthers) scored a goal and had two assists to help Finland to its third straight win in Group A.

Samuel Helenius (2021 draft eligible) scored two goals, and Kasper Simontaival (Los Angeles Kings) and Topi Niemela (Toronto Maple Leafs) each had a goal and an assist. Kari Piiroinen (2021 draft eligible) made 12 saves.

Finland (3-0-0-0, nine points) and Canada (3-0-0-0, nine points) are tied for first place in Group A. They will play for the top seed in the group for the quarterfinals Thursday (6 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN).

“We had a good first period, but I think we played even better in the second and third,” said Lundell, who is tied with Niemela for the Finland lead with six points (three goals, three assists).

Samuel Hlavaj (2021 draft eligible) made 44 saves for Slovakia (1-0-1-2, four points).

Lundell, Finland’s captain, scored the game’s first goal at 8:57 of the first period when he tapped in a cross-ice pass from Simontaival, giving him a goal in each of his team’s three games. Lundell then set up Niemela’s goal during a delayed penalty to make it 2-0 at 6:09 of the second.

Simontaival was credited with the goal that gave Finland a 3-0 lead at 8:35 of the second. He carried the puck to the net, Hlavaj poked it away from him, but it bounced in off the stick of Slovakia defenseman Oliver Turan (2021 draft eligible).

Santeri Hatakka (San Jose Sharks) made it 4-0 when at 6:10 of the third when he scored from the goal line, putting a shot between Hlavaj’s head and the post. Then Helenius, who received a B rating from NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary players to watch list, made it 5-0 at 7:27 when he scored on the rebound of a shot by Benjamin Korhonen (2021 draft eligible), and made it 6-0 at 13:49.

“We had a good first period, but I think we played even better in the second and third,” Lundell said.

Slovakia is assured of playing in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

“In that second period, there was lots of pressure on us, they were all over us … we were losing lots of battles,” Slovakia coach Robert Petrovicky said. “We have to go back to what it was in the first few games and the first few days, see what was working for us, especially those first few games.”

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Spain's Bautista Agut apologizes for comparing hotel for Aussie Open quarantine to jail –



Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut has apologized after criticizing the Victoria state government’s quarantine requirements for tennis players ahead of next month’s Australian Open and comparing being locked down in a hotel to being in prison.

Passengers who arrived on three charter flights have been placed into hard quarantine, including more than 70 players who are unable to train outside their rooms for 14 days before the year’s first Grand Slam starts on Feb. 8.

A number of top players, including world number one Novak Djokovic, have questioned the need for mandatory hotel quarantine but Victoria premier Daniel Andrews said it was essential to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s like [being] in a jail,” Israeli television channel Sport 5 quoted world number 13 Bautista Agut as saying.

“It’s the same [as being in prison], but with Wifi. These people have no idea about tennis and about practice courts and it’s a complete disaster.

“The control of everything isn’t Tennis Australia, it’s with the government [and health officials].”

Bautista Agut, who reached the Australian Open quarter-finals in 2019, apologized for the comments in a post on Instagram, saying they had been made in a private conversation that was released to the media without his knowledge or consent.

“Both my coach and I are following protocols designed by the Australian Government and Tennis Australia to avoid any risk and guarantee to compete again in a safe way,” Bautista Agut added. 

“I thank all the people who are making playing tennis again possible.”

Making the best of a situation

Czech Barbora Strycova, a semi-finalist at Wimbledon in 2019, backed the strict health protocols and said she was getting on with it.

“I’m exercising twice a day, reading some books, being on social [media] and watching TV,” she told SEN Breakfast.

“I can’t really complain. I really have to go through it and try to be as positive as I can be.”

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Jets’ Laine to sit second straight game Tuesday vs. Senators –



The Winnipeg Jets will be without the services of sniper Patrik Laine on Tuesday for the second straight game as they open a three-game series versus the Ottawa Senators, per Sportsnet‘s Ken Wiebe.

Coach Paul Maurice told reporters Laine received treatment for his upper-body injury Tuesday morning, but he won’t be making any changes to his skaters from Monday’s 3-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Laine was previously listed as day-to-day.

Laurent Brossoit will get the start in net against the Senators, stepping in for reigning Vezina winner Connor Hellebuyck.

The Jets play at Ottawa on Tuesday and Thursday, before hosting the Senators on Saturday.

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Senators’ Tim Stützle day-to-day with minor injury, won’t play vs. Jets –



The Ottawa Senators say rookie forward Tim Stützle is day-to-day with a minor injury and won’t suit up for Tuesday night’s matchup vs. the Winnipeg Jets.

It is unclear how or when he suffered the injury.

The 19-year-old, who was selected third overall in the 2020 NHL Draft, recorded 14:52 minutes in ice time during a 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs on Saturday, scoring his first NHL goal in highlight-reel fashion.

Through two games, Stützle has one point and four shots on goal.

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