Predators at the 2015 IIHF World Championships: Goal scoring, puck stopping, and pond-hopping
It was a good day for Predators fans in the World Championship. Rinne, Forsberg, and Josi all had notably fantastic games and every team a Predators player was rostered on won. There was also some good news from prospect Juuse Saros for next season.
Sweden vs. Austria
The day started out very well for Predators and Swedish fans as Team Sweden posted a 6-1 win over Austria. It was a game that was dominated by your own Filip Forsberg who put up three magnificent goals for the hat trick, as well as an assist for good measure. Held pointless the first game, Forsberg now has three goals and one assist in two games.
The hype is real for him as tweets of the second coming of Foppa ran rampant on Twitter (tip of the hat to KnoxvillePredators.) While that is probably a little bit overblown the skill Forsberg has shown, especially today, has to have Predators fans extremely excited.
Matchens lirare i @Trekronorse blev inte helt oväntat Filip Forsberg. #hockeyvm #twittpuck pic.twitter.com/XifMnR3IOg— TV4 Sport (@TV4Sport) May 3, 2015
Finland vs. Denmark
After suffering a 5-1 loss against team USA on Friday, Finland dominated Denmark with 3-0 win. Goalie Pekka Rinne picked up a shutout in the process, stopping all sixteen of Team Denmark's shots. All of Finland's goals came in the second period with tallies by Jussi Jokinen, Janne Pesonen, and Aleksander Barkov.
Switzerland vs. France
To finish out the day for the Preds players, Switzerland bagged their second win of the tournament with a 3-1 win over France. The first goal came 15:36 into the first period with a powerplay goal by Dennis Hollenstein in which Roman Josi got the secondary assist. Early on in the second period Kevin Fiala sent a pass over to Josi, who scored Switzerland's second of the game. Damien Raux would score in the third period for France, but the Swiss would prove too much for the French, as they finished the game off with an empty-netter. France played a rough and tough game which would lead them to getting a combined 63 minutes of penalties including ejections of both Sacha Treille (hit to the head) and Anton Roussel (unsportsmanlike conduct.)
In two games, Josi has a goal and two assists and Fiala has two assists. Unsurprisingly, Josi leads all of Switzerland in ice time while Fiala has spent most of his time on the second line.
Roman Josi Player of The Game @rjosi90 #IIHFWorlds #IIHFSUI pic.twitter.com/ybMvlDZVnS— M. (@TheSwiss_) May 3, 2015
Josi from Fiala:
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GIF: Watch Roman #Josi's beauty being set up by fellow @PredsNHL player Kevin #Fiala! #IIHFWorlds pic.twitter.com/T1z4xMnpmL— Swiss NHL (@SwissNHL) May 3, 2015
Prospect Update: Juuse Saros Likely Coming to North America Next Season
As already reported by a reputable Finnish news company, Juuse Saros will likely be spending next season in North America. Saros, who backed up Pekka Rinne for game one for Team Finland, confirmed that earlier today in an interview that this is, in fact, is the case.
Translation of the quote from Saros in an interview with with MTV Finland's Leo Lounge:
"There is a high probability I am no longer with [HPK] next season. It looks like I'll be somewhere in North America."
Saros will likely start next season in Milwaukee. Due to his height (he's roughly 5'10") it could take him multiple seasons to adjust to the North American ice and, with Pekka Rinne playing the way he is right now, there should be no rush to bring up Saros too soon. At the same time, considering he is widely viewed as one of, if not the, best goalies in the Liiga—Finland's top league that is known for producing many high-end goalies—that development period could be shorter than expected. Either way, it is probably a good thing that he is getting over here at this time so he can adjust his playing style while he is still young—he just turned 20 in late April.
Ed. Note: New Predators' signee Steve Moses was injured in Sunday's game against Norway, after taking a hit from Ole-Kristian Tollefsen. No update or word on his condition has been seen as of this article's publication. Jimmy Vesey added an assist on the game-winning goal.