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Author: Alessandro Seren RossoDate: 12/29/2009
Russia skates past Finland

2010 U20 World Junior Championships

Thanks to a great performance by goalie Igor Bobkov (Anaheim Ducks) and a couple of moments from Nikita Filatov (Columbus Blue Jackets), Plyuschev's Team Russia got the best of the Finns with a minimal effort. In spite of a 46-saves shut out Bobkov hasn't been named player of the match, honors that instead went to Filatov. After this 2-0 victory Russia is now on the top of the standings staying perfect, with Sweden, who has got 6 points too. The teams are going to meet tonight.

"Of course it's pleasant to be named player of the match, but I have a problem: when I get that award I don't play well next game", said Bobkov after the match. The crowd booed Filatov's election, who admitted: "the best player of the game was Bobkov, no questions. If it wasn't for him, my goal and pass wouldn't matter."

It was Nikita Filatov (Columbus Blue Jackets) himself who made the best effort in the first period rush that led to Russia's first goal. The Red Army player hurried through the neutral zone after a smart pass by Kirill Petrov (New York Islanders), just to feed in a perfect way the rushing Petr Khokhryakov on the right, who went for the one timer and made it a 1-0 game.

Plyuschev did change the lines, moving Petrov and Khokhryakov to the first line, letting Maxim Trunev (Montreal Canadiens) holding his second line spot joining him to Alexander Burmistrov and Vladimir Tarasenko. The second line had the true first chance of the game after four minutes, when Trunev dribbled past a couple of defensemen without putting the puck past Flames' prospect Joni Ortio.

After Khokhryakov's marker Russia pushed searching for the second goal, getting close with Evgeny Kuznetsov. A couple of minutes with the man advantage for team Finland tested Bobkov's equipment, but when at the thirteenth Pavel Dedunov gained a penalty in his favor after a trip by Vittasmaki many would have think that Russia was going to score again. The powerplay did look better than against the Austrians, but it wasn't enough to double the advantage.

Slowly Finland started gaining ground. With three minutes to go in the first period Nikita Pivtsakin was cought in foul and Bobkov had to step up with his first big saves against first liner Teemu Hartikainen, who will be named player of the game for Finland after the match. With the teams back at even strength the Finns kept on pushing the gas and when Rask was truly close to the tie Bobkov robbed him of the goal with a superb save that kept the score intact at the end of the first period.

The second period started pretty much like the first ended, with Finland pushing. They got an early man advantage after a tripping by Dmitri Orlov (Washington Capitals), but Bobkov reflected every attempt. The first half of the period has been completely dominated by the Finns. The biggest chance was at the sixth minute: after a first save, Rask got the rebound and shot, but Bobkov stretched his big pads saving the score. A little later top prospect Mikael Granlund had a chance too, but the goalie once again denied it.

A couple of minutes later through the period team Russia finally managed to get into the offensive zone with a quick counterattack by Vladimir Tarasenko, but his backhander wasn't a threat for Ortio. Not much later Kirill Petrov (New York Islanders) with a great effort kept possession of the puck along the boards and centered it, but no one could get on time. It was a good moment for Team Russia and they got a powerplay after a holding call against Nakyva.

Nikita Filatov was inspired and he parked himself around the blue line, just to get the puck from Maxim Chudinov and blasting it top shelf with a great shot.

A couple of hits heat the game up after the mid-game marker and a little brawl arisen with Dmitri Kostromitin and Niemi as main contributors. The referees had a bit of hard time in controlling the match and they started giving many penalties, with the result that the teams were hardly on even strength situation.

In the third period Finland started with the man advantage, without managing to get the puck past Bobkov, who kept on saving everything the opponents shot at him. Fifth minute: team Russia got a good chance, Evgeny Timkin launched Kuznetsov in good position, but the shot was wide.

The teams were obviously tired and the game was a bit off in the third period, but at the twelfth minute, after a good 2-on-1 rush on the Russian zone, Jormakka managed to beat Bobkov with a perfectly-timed attempt, but the shot rattled the right post.

A late coast to coast by Sami Vatanen gave team Finland a further man advantage, but Bobkov saved everything once again, protecting his shut out and giving Russia the second win in as many games.

Russia - Finland 2-0 (1-0; 1-0; 0-0)
06:51 Petr Khokhryakov (Nikita Filatov, Kirill Petrov (New York Islanders))
29:16 Nikita Filatov (Columbus Blue Jackets) (Maxim Chudinov) PP

Prospect of the game: Igor Bobkov (Anaheim Ducks)
Easy call. 46 saves, a shut out and a win. A perfect game with many easy shots and routine saves, but at least four game-breaking saves.

Scouting notes:

Nikita Filatov (Columbus Blue Jackets): played surely better than against team Austria, but he had only a couple of good moments and another pair of rushes. The first line needs to work more in the upcoming games.

Kirill Petrov (New York Islanders): probably the best player on ice among skaters for Team Russia, he worked out throughout the whole match and won many battles along the boards.

Vladimir Tarasenko: has to turn on his "A" game and improve his finalizing abilities. He got a little injury at the end of the first period going down to block a shot and this truly shows the right attitude.

Dmitri Orlov (Washington Capitals): played an okay game, but he should have tried harder in the offensive zone.

Maxim Trunev (Montreal Canadiens): played an okay game too, had a couple of chances, but he looked better in the first game, maybe because of the new line mates.

Related Player Profiles: . I.Bobkov A.Burmistrov M.Chudinov N.Filatov P.Khokhryakov D.Kostromitin E.Kuznetsov D.Orlov K.Petrov N.Pivtsakin V.Tarasenko E.Timkin M.Trunev
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