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Canada, Russia advance to ice hockey worlds final

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Canada, Russia advance to ice hockey worlds final

By KAREL JANICEK

PRAGUE (AP) -- Four final-period goals propelled defending champion Russia past the United States 4-0 in the semifinals of the ice hockey world championship on Saturday and set up a final with Canada.

Canada also enjoyed a blanking, 2-0 over the host Czech Republic.

The finalists are by far the most decorated in world championship history, with Russia (and the Soviet Union) having won 27 finals, and Canada 24. Sunday will make their first final in six years.

The Russia-U.S. semi was scoreless until more than seven minutes into the final frame, when Sergei Mozyakin wristed a shot over goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.

Alex Ovechkin, making his first appearance in the tournament following the end of his NHL playoffs run, found space in between the goalie's pads three minutes later.

Vadim Schipachyov made it 3-0, and Evgeni Malkin finished it off with 1:25 to go into an empty net. Russia will seek its third title in four years.

Earlier, Taylor Hall and Jason Spezza scored for Canada, which hasn't won the title since 2007.

"At this point, everyone's mind is on winning," Canada captain Sidney Crosby said. "Hopefully, we can finish it off."

With yet another attacking display, Canada outshot the Czechs 41-23, and goaltender Mike Smith made some big saves for his second shutout.

"They had some opportunities, especially early, and generated some good chances," said Crosby, who had one assist. "Today's was a good test for us, a big challenge."

The Crosby-led Canadians have been dominating the tournament with a perfect record of nine wins from nine games, and 60 goals.

Left winger Hall scored 8:40 in after Jordan Eberle's pass from the right found him in front of the empty net, with goaltender Ondrej Pavelec unable to reach the puck.

"It was a big goal for the team, to silence the crowd," Hall said. "At this point of the tournament, we know how we have to play no matter who the opponent is."

Spezza wristed a shot through a defenseman's legs past Pavelec to stretch the lead 9:02 into the second. He tops the scoring chart with 14 points, from six goals and eight assists.

Canada also beat the host team in the group stage, 6-3.

With 1:33 to go in the second, the Czechs had a goal by defenseman Michal Jordan disallowed after the referees ruled forward Petr Koukal was in the crease. A video replay didn't seem to confirm that.

"There's nothing we can do about it," Czech veteran Jaromir Jagr said. "We went after them as we wanted to but we didn't score a goal in the first 10-15 minutes."

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Tom Wilson is single-handedly trying to fight every player on the Lightning in Game 7

Tom Wilson is single-handedly trying to fight every player on the Lightning in Game 7

TOM WILSON IS ALL JACKED UP ON MOUNTAIN DEW. 

17 minutes into Game 7 and Tom Wilson is already out here doing Tom Wilson things. 

First, there were these shenanigans:

Pretty standard stuff. Some anger words, some glove pulling. Nothing special. Then, friends - then it gets real:

Let this marinate a little bit. Wilson got a minor for fighting, served his time, and then IMMEDIATELY came out of the box and did literally the exact same thing. 

He punched a guys helmet off. Those helmets have straps to stay on for this exact reason, and it didn't matter. If this was medieval jousting, Braydon Coburn would be declared the loser on the spot. 

Get you a friend like Tom Wilson. 

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In a surprise twist, Barry Trotz takes The Hot Lap ahead of Game 7

In a surprise twist, Barry Trotz takes The Hot Lap ahead of Game 7

TAMPA—Head Coach Barry Trotz skated the hot lap prior to Wednesday’s Game 7 at Amalie Arena, taking over the superstitious tradition from captain Alex Ovechkin.

Why the change?

The Caps lost Game 5 here on Saturday. And when the Caps lose on the road—the only place where the morning-skate-starting hot lap takes place—a new skater is selected.

The weird tradition began in the first round at Nationwide Arena in Columbus when Jay Beagle grew tired of waiting for the ice to freeze over following a fresh Zamboni cut. Beagle's teammates implored him to wait a little longer for the ice to cure, but he grew impatient and took it upon himself to kick off the skate by racing around the rink, a la the fastest skater competition at the All Star Skills competition.

Ovechkin took it over prior to Game 6 in Pittsburgh because the Caps had lost Game 4 at PPG Paints Arena.

Ovechkin proudly carried on the tradition as Washington won three in a row—Game 6 in Pittsburgh and Games 1 and 2 of this series vs. Tampa Bay.

Following the Caps’ 3-2 defeat in Game 5 here, though, it was expected that a change would be made.

And on Wednesday morning the baton changed hands, with the least obvious of all the Caps busting his 55-year-old hump around the rink much to the delight of his players and assistants.

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