Loui Eriksson – Sweden
Sweden’s undefeated streak came to a screeching halt in Friday’s match against another undefeated juggernaut, the Russians. The Swedes were decimated by a score of 7-3, but Loui Eriksson put on a clinic of his own. His 10 shots were the most of any player but unfortunately he just could not convert on Russians netminder Semyon Varlamov. Despite no goals, he put up 2 assists, but it wasn’t enough to keep him atop the scoring race. Russia’s Evgeni Malkin put together a hat trick and added two assists to put himself alone at the top. Eriksson added another assist in Sweden’s 4-0 win over Italy and now sits third in the scoring race.
Alex Goligoski – United States of America
The United States kicked off the weekend with what was supposed to be an “easy” game against Kazakhstan, a team not exactly known for their winning tradition at the World Championships. Of course, hockey is hockey and anything can happen. The USA was forced into overtime and escaped with the narrow victory thanks to Justin Faulk’s OT winner. Alex Goligoski had himself a dandy of a game though, picking up an assist and a +3 rating in 21:53 of ice time. Earlier today they played host nation Finland and finally looked like the team they’re supposed to be, turning in a 5-0 victory at the cost of Stars netminder Kari Lehtonen, who was also injured in the game, but more on that later. Goligoski picked up yet another assist in the victory, but the story of the game was that Goligoski was on the receiving end of a vicious boarding penalty. Luckily, Goligoski came out of it seemingly unscathed. Kari Lehtonen wasn’t as fortunate…
Kari Lehtonen – Finland
After a solid start to the tournament, Kari Lehtonen’s dominance came to an end in Friday’s game against Canada. Lehtonen surrendered 4 goals on 25 shots in the 5-3 loss and followed up that performance with another losing effort to the United States, surrendering 5 goals on 30 shots before being injured late in the third period. Lehtonen was involved in a collision in his net and went down hard, favoring his knee. He was pulled from the game but there has been now word as of yet of the severity of his injury. All Stars fans are collectively holding their breath in the hope it’s nothing too serious. If it is, that’ll be the last we see of Lehtonen at the World Championships. If not, hopefully we can see him get back to top form and lead Finland to the finals.
Richard Bachman – United States of America
First off, apologies for the lack of a proper picture, apparently photographers were in short supply for the game against Kazakhstan. But Bachman was in fact there and he did get his first taste of preliminary round action. His two goals allowed were hardly his fault and he put in a solid performance for a struggling USA team in the aforementioned 3-2 overtime win, making 17 saves. It remains to be seen if Bachman will get many more starts, it will probably depend on the USA’s situation in the standings.
Jamie Benn – Canada
Jamie Benn has seen his tenure near the top of the goal scorers ended, as his game has quietly transitioned into more of a defensive role. Benn did not have a spectacular outing in the 5-3 victory over Finland, he was held pointless and had just 1 shot with -1 rating in 11:10 of ice time. He fared better in an 8-0 pounding of Kazakhstan, but I’m sure he wishes he could have been better. He had one assist in the game, but just two shots. Against a team as lowly as Kazakhstan Benn should have created more opportunities for himself, but he can’t dominate them all.
Philip Larsen – Denmark
The Danish team had a quite weekend, playing just one game, and by extension so did Larsen. The team continued to struggle in a 2-1 loss to Germany, but Larsen continues to be the workhouse for Denmark, playing another game above 25 minutes, this time at an even 27:00. He didn’t have a point but put 4 shots on goal.