Another game, another goal for Evgeni Malkin at the 2012 IIHF World Championships. This time it was the bitter rivals from the Czech Republic that were on the receiving end of Malkin’s 7th goal of the championships. The Czech Republic had beaten Russia six times in the last seven meetings but Russia stamped their authority on the game after 24 seconds when Alexander Perezhogin scored on the first attack of the game. Perezhogin took a pass from behind the goal and skated round to beat Jakub Kovar in the Czech goal. The Czechs responded well and persistently attacked but Russia, minus two first choice defenders and Semyon Varlamov in goal, stood firm. In the 11th minute, the frame of the goal helped save Russia, and Konstantin Barulin, from conceding. The first period ended with the Czechs outshooting their opponents 14-7.
The second period was played out in a similar manner, with the Czech Republic having more of the shots on goal. Indiscipline from the Czechs would give Russia a 5 on 3 advantage at the end of the period when Martin Erat and defenseman Lukas Krajicek were called for penalties. This gave the Russians an advantage that Malkin would exploit fully at the start of the 3rd period when he scored from an Alexander Popov pass.
Everyone on Team Russia can stand up for himself. Besides, it doesn’t affect me at all. A lot of energy is still left so all the skirmishes don’t prevent me and the whole team from showing our best hockey. And if the opponents start giving me too much attention, my line partners, Aleksandr Popov and Aleksandr Perezhogin, score instead of me.
The win for Russia secured the top spot in the group, before the last game, and could face the United States in the semi-finals should both teams advance. Malkin is now leading the scoring and goal scoring tables as well as plus-minus leader too. A game against lowly Italy could help accumulate more points for Malkin. Further good news for Russia is that Washington Capitals duo Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin are joining up with the Russian team. It is very much looking like the tournament is Russia’s to lose now but the Canadians and the United States will surely have a say in that.