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Author: Evgeny Belashchenko (RussianProspects Exclusive)Date: 12/31/2004
U20 WJC: Russia - Belarus Player Game Notes - Ovechkin (Washington) scores twice

2005 U20 World Junior Championships RUSSIA – BELARUS 7:2 (3:0, 1:1, 3:1)
December 28th, 2004 - Thief River Falls Arena
OFFENSE
LINE #1:
Russia’s top line had a good game on the stats sheet, but had chances to score six to eight more goals, missing excellent scoring chances.
#8 Ovechkin (Washington Capitals) – made a nice feed to Lisin early on in the game, but too strong and Lisin couldn’t handle it...had a good scoring chance 10 minutes into the second period, but didn’t lift the puck off the ice and the goalie got it...scored Russia’s fourth goal breaking into the zone by himself and putting the puck up high right underneath the crossbar on the goalie’s glove side... handles the puck well, looks for the pass, but doesn’t have a great passing ability – his passes tend to be too strong, or intercepted, but he keeps trying and his passing will improve...never gives up on a play, but got into trouble when he hooked down Andrei Kostitsyn while Ovechkin was down on the ice and Kostitsyn fell into the boards hard....good sportsman, tried to apologize and make sure Kostitsyn was ok.
#12 Pestunov (Phoenix Coyotes) – very precise passing...good speed...had a more successful game against the smaller, slower Belarus team...had more time to feed the puck to Ovechkin, who is usually his preferred target over Lisin.
#26 Lisin (Phoenxi Coyotes) – Had a great chance in the first period when Ovechkin fed him the puck from the faceoff circle to the right, but the pass was not on the tape and Lisin couldn’t get his stick on it...had a very good chance 11 minutes into the second period, when he got the puck near the top of the face off circle, skated it into the zone, went left, then quickly streaked to the right, but the goalie read the move and blocked off the corner...became more selfish with the puck in the game against Belarus, trying to score on his own instead of using his linemates, reverting back to the style of play that may have potentially dropped him in the draft.

LINE #2:
The line was significantly strengthened with the addition of Alexander Radulov. While Radulov still needs more time to get used to playing with Malkin, he is a potent scoring threat on the wing with size – an ingredient the line was missing in the first game against the US.
#22 Radulov (Nashville Predators) - Continued to skate with Russia’s second line, and kept up with the play effectively...skated well, with good speed...got nailed in the face with a stick early in the game, split his lip, but returned shortly afterwards...Radulov got the Belarusian Player (Andrei Karev) back for the high sticking by checking him hard into the boards once, and then checking him again when he got up a few seconds later...16 minutes into the 3rd period – Radulov is not reading Malkin well – sitting back and watching him enter the offensive zone instead of skating into the zone with him, like a line mate should.
#17 Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins) – A force to deal with on the ice...possesses great size and a smooth skater...was complemented well by Shirokov and Radulov...very good slap shot – strong and precise...Karev tried to stop Malkin on the red line, but Malkin saw him and instead laid a vicious hit down on the smaller Karev, who went down hard, bleeding on the ice...Malkin became a lot more motivated as the second period went on... Great sixth goal – Shirokov passes the puck to Malkin from the left boards, Malkin holds it, and then feeds it to Radulov, who snaps a slap shot right in the five hole.
#29 Shirokov (Undrafted) – scored the first goal against Belarus off his own rebound – punching the puck in past the sprawled out goaltender...never gives up – always keeps moving...early in the second period fought for the puck behind the Belarus net, then the puck was moved up to the boards next to the left face-off circle, and he fought hard to make his way to the puck again... Great sixth goal – Shirokov passes the puck to Malkin from the left boards, Malkin holds it, and then feeds it to Radulov, who snaps a slap shot right in the five hole.

LINE #3
The third line was a lot more alive in this game, driving towards the net as always, but also passing more than during the previous games.
#11 Galimov (Undrafted) – Fought hard near the Belarus crease, backed up towards the net and tried to slide the puck in next to the right post, but the goalie was prepared, and ended up breaking Galimov’s stick...loves to play around the net and finds his way to get there...average size and needs to improve
#19 Shafigullin (Nashville Predators) – offensively can’t make things happen...not very creative and made decisions that resulted in turnovers...made a nice feed to Nikulin from the left face off circle to center ice, but Nikulin one-timed it high.
#21 Nikulin (Ottawa Senators) – Shafigullin made a nice feed to Nikulin from the left facoff circle to center ice, but Nikulin one timed it high...shot the puck hard, which caused a rebound that landed close to Shafigullin, who unfortunately was covered... Nikulin scored the seventh goal by lifting the puck above the goalie – he shot it, got the rebound and lifted the puck from the right post above the sprawled out goalie... Nikulin almost had a second goal, made a great pass to Malkin, who then passed it back. Nikulin skated into the zone and shot the puck, which the goalie saved with his right pad and gave up a rebound. Nikulin then got the rebound and shot it again, with it this time hitting the left post.

LINE #4
The fourth line was a lot more effective against the smaller, slower Belarus team. The addition of Parshin sparked a lot of activity, as he had the room to maneuver against Belarus.
#23 Yunkov (Washington Capitals) – made a great feed to Voloshenko, who was streaking in, but Voloshenko missed the net – he had a defenseman on him...looked a lot more active in the offensive zone in this game... Yunkov became more aggressive, drove hard into the zone down the boards... good determination… needs to get stronger, but the natural instinct is there.
#25 Voloshenko (Minnesota Wild) – Scored Russia’s third goal off a nice feed from Parshin – both were close to the net...scored Russia’s fifth goal after Yunkov streaked in on the net and passed it back instead of taking a shot. Voloshenko put it in right between the goalie’s legs...
#27 Parshin (Colorado Avalanche) – Looks a lot more effective on the fourth line...interacted well with Voloshenko, assisting on the young forward’s first goal with a nice feed...had a good chance of his own when he skated around a couple of Belarusian players, headed out towards the goalie, but shot it low, and the goalie caught it with his pad. Impressive speed – can streak up ice quickly when given some open ice. A lot more fire in the fourth line – Voloshenko made a nice no look pass to Parshin, who streaked in and tried to made a jumping move against a Belarus defenseman, but unfortunately was caught doing it and Parshin fell.
DEFENSE
PAIRING #1
As much as Denis Ezhov has done for Team Russia on the international arena over the past couple of years, he should not be on Russia’s top defensive pairing. The young defenseman is turnover prone, making at least one or two giveaways in his own zone in each of the games. Vorobiev has been the stabilizing force on Russia’s blue line, helping to make up for Ezhov’s mistakes, and delivering a physical edge that Russia has not had on the blue line since Anton Volchenkov.
#6 Vorobiev (Toronto Maple Leafs) – Physical, fights hard on the open ice and in the corners...likes to throw his weight around...understands plays developing on the ice well...knows what to do in most situations and keeps his cool...looks for the physical contact, which is great, but looked too much 14 minutes into the second, when he tried to back into the Belarus player streaking down the right boards, but missed the player, took himself out of position and a scoring chance resulted for Belarus...skated well backwards, keeping up with opponents when coming back into the defensive zone.
#24 Ezhov (Buffalo Sabres) – made a terrible turnover on a power play in his own zone in the first period...had a very bad first period, making turnovers, getting out of position...positioning errors - Russia was shorthanded for the last couple of minutes of the period, and Ezhov got carried away, skating with a Belarus player around Russia’s net, instead of holding his ground on the left post...just seconds later skated up to above the left face-off circle instead of holding his ground by the left post, leaving a Belarus player open and almost costing Russia a goal.

PAIRING #2
Had a solid game...reliable in every zone of the ice, avoiding any gross mistakes.
#7 Rylov (Undrafted) – Above average skater backwards...very mobile...capable of making a very good first pass out of the zone...joins in on the offense, but it’s unclear how effective he is as a power play quarterback...tried to slap another shot right under the cross bar – like the one with which he scored a goal in the game against the US, but missed the net high.
#15 Misharin (Minnesota Wild) – Played better in this game than the game before – handling the puck well and playing better in Russia’s zone...still continues to play Super League style in his own zone, using his stick more than his impressive size.

PAIRING #3
The third pairing played reliable hockey, with the exception of some bad decisions made by Panin that would have cost Russia dearly if they were playing a squad more competent than Belarus.
#5 Panin (Undrafted) – Panin and Misharin should be skating on Russia’s fourth defensive pairing, but it is doubtful that Russia’s coach Gersonsky will change around the lines this late in the preliminary rounds. Panin has not adapted well to the smaller ice surface, and made some poor decisions with the puck. Needs to improve his decision making...made a couple of errors by making passes to a double covered player instead of skating the puck out...needs to take a look at the entire ice...skates well...capable of making a good pass.
#20 Emelin (Montreal Canadiens) - Doesn’t hesitate to skate the puck up the ice and make the first pass out of the zone...looks up the ice and sees the place well...did not play as physically in this game as before, but fought hard, and effectively at the boards...skated into the offensive zone, but didn’t make much happen.

PAIRING #4:
Overall: It’s a waste to have these two defensemen playing on Russia’s fourth line. They are playing better than most other Russian blue liners at the tournament with the exception of Dmitri Vorobiev. Reliable in their own zone, the two blue liners bring a lot of pieces to the equation, including size, physical presence, and good interaction. It’s tough to say how Belov and Megalinsky would perform in the offensive end of the ice, as the fourth line rarely involved the blue line when it was on the attack. It is clear that the two would definitely stabilize the defensive zone, and would be especially effective against the bigger, more physical North American squads.
#3 Belov (Undrafted) – Mobile, and skated well in his own zone...possesses very good size... intelligent – making smart decisions with the puck...a solid stay at home defensemen...shot the puck once in the game on the power play when him and Megalinsky ended up on the ice with Russia’s first line – very powerful slapshot – it missed the net and hit the boards with the boom...takes passes well...
#14 Megalinsky (Undrafted) – skates well backwards...uses his body effectively in the open ice...very good size...can make a good pass out of the zone...laid down a vicious open ice hit – but earned a roughing penalty for it...very good size...average top speed.

GOALIE:
#1 Kuznetsov (Undrafted)
– Reliable in net during the first period – stopped a couple of nice chances with solid positioning...very good poise...hybrid style.

BELARUS:
#7 Kolesov (Detroit Red Wings)
– Kolesov - Good top speed, moves his legs well...needs to improve his positional game...has the size, but doesn’t play very physical hockey.
#21 Zakharov (St. Louis Blues) – Scored a goal by deflecting a slapshot from the point into the net...
#22 S. Kostitsyn (Undrafted) – needs to improve his positioning – got impatient early on and skated towards the corner where his teammate was fighting for the puck – did no good, but when the puck was wrestled away, he was too close to get it...had a very good chance early in the second period when he made a couple of flashy moves to get around several Russian players, but the shot was flat on the ice, without much on it and went wide...quick skater...doesn’t have much size and doesn’t compete as well in traffic.
#23 A. Kostitsyn (Montreal Canadiens) - Great chance late in the first period - 30 seconds left, when he streaked into the zone, but Ezhov held him...showed bursts of speed, but was largely kept in a slower gear... had trouble getting into the offensive zone, but largely due to his linemates mishandling his passes, or not sending precise passes his way. ... hit the post 13 minutes into the third – skated alone from his own zone up, went around one Russian player, and then went through two Russian defensemen. Before they converged on him, Kostitsyn released a strong wrist shot, which hit the outside of the post...began to play with more determination and aggressiveness in the third period.

RUSSIA – BELARUS 7:2 (3:0, 1:1, 3:1)
December 28th, 2004 - Thief River Falls Arena
GOALS: 1:0 Sergei Shirokov (Grigori Misharin, Yakov Rylov - 1:38pp); 2:0 Alexander Ovechkin (Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Shirokov - 10:12pp), 3:0 Roman Voloshenko (Denis Parshin - 13:01), 3:1 Alexei Efimenko (Vadim Karaha), 4:1 Alexander Ovechkin (33:54), 4:2 Konstantin Zakharov (Sergei Giro, Artem Volkov - 40:43), 5:2 Roman Voloshenko (Mikhail Yunkov, Dmitri Megalinksy - 48:04), 6:2 Alexander Radulov (Evgeni Malkin, Evgeni Shirokov - 49:29), 7:2 Alexander Nikulin (Grigori Shafigulin, Alexander Shafigulin - 49:50)
SHOTS: 26-30
PENALTIES: 12-24
GOALIES: Kuznetsov (28 saves, 30 shots) –Goryachevsky (0:00-51:12) Milchakov (51:12-60:00) (19 saves, 26shots)
RUSSIA LINEUP: Kuznetsov (28 saves), Ezhov – Vorobiev, Rylov – Misharin (2), Panin – Emelin , Belov – Megalinsky (2), Lisin – Pestunov – Ovechkin (4), Radulov – Malkin – Shirokov, Nikulin – Shafigullin (2) – Galimov, Parshin (2) – Yunkov – Voloshenko;

Related Player Profiles: . A.Belov A.Emelin D.Ezhov A.Galimov A.Kuznetsov E.Lisin E.Malkin D.Megalinsky G.Misharin A.Nikulin A.Ovechkin G.Panin D.Parshin D.Pestunov A.Radulov Y.Rylov G.Shafigullin S.Shirokov R.Voloshenko D.Vorobiev M.Yunkov
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