Several of the Preds representing their countries at the World Championship in Belarus have already made an impact in pre-tournament games.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne, playing for his native Finland, went 2-0-0 with a 1.38 goals-against average and a .953 save percentage in two games at the Oddset Hockey Games, an annual spring event between the Finns, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Russia.
Sweden, also participating in the Oddset Hockey Games, finished the event with a 1-1-1 record, with their one win coming in their final game of the tournament against Russia (2-0). Preds defenseman Mattias Ekholm appeared in all three games for the Swedes. Forward Calle Jarnkrok, who was just named to the Swedish roster on May 2, did not play.
On Tuesday, the United States, coached by Preds new head coach Peter Laviolette and assistant coach Phil Housley, beat Germany 3-1 in their only pre-tournament contest. Preds forward Craig Smith notched the primary assist on Tyler Johnson’s goal, the U.S.’s third, midway through the second period. Laviolette, Housley and Smith are joined on Team USA by Preds defenseman Seth Jones and Video Coach Lawrence Feloney.
Canada beat Switzerland 4-0 on Wednesday, in the last of the pre-tournament games where Predators players are represented. Preds defenseman Ryan Ellis, representing Canada for the first time since becoming only the seventh player to play for Canada in three editions of the World Junior Championship, tallied his team’s second goal with less than two minutes remaining in the first period. Ellis was named Canada’s player of the game. Preds defenseman Roman Josi and forward Simon Moser both dressed for the Swiss.
The World Championship tournament begins on Friday at 8:45 a.m. CT with Switzerland vs. Russia and Canada vs. France, followed by Belarus vs. United States and Slovakia vs. Czech Republic at 12:45 p.m. CT. Finland (vs. Latvia) and Sweden (vs. Denmark) play their first games at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday.
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