Lightning Players Have Rough Day at World Championships
The Lightning players took it on the chin today at the IIHF World Championships taking place in Germany. Team Canada, which features Tampa Bay forwards Steven Stamkos and Steve Downie, lost for the first time this year, 4-1, against Switzerland in Mannheim. At the same time, in Cologne, Team USA was eliminated and sent to the relegation round after a 3-2 loss to Finland.
Perhaps more importantly for Canada, who are already without captain Ryan Smyth after an injury, superstar center Stamkos left the game and did not play in the third period with what was deemed an upper body injury. He is expected to be evaluated in the morning. Regardless of today’s loss though, the Canadians are already through to the next round with a record of 2-0-1.
The Swiss came out strong out of the gates, jumped out to the 2-0 lead in the first period before John Tavares corralled the loose puck and put it in the back of the net. Unfortunately for the Canada faithful, that would be the closest they would ever get. Switzerland added a goal in each the second and third periods to secure their first victory against Canada in the 76-year history of the World Championships.
Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin’s tournament came to an unexpected and abrupt end today when after taking an early 1-0 lead the Fins fought back with three unanswered goals on goaltender Scott Clemmensen. A late USA goal by TJ Oshie wasn’t even to spawn a comeback as the loss knocked the Americans to 0-1-2 and into the relegation round. Lundin played 16:45 in the game, including 7:20 in the second period.
Lundin finished his first World Championship by playing in all three games, recording a minus-1 rating and averaging 14:35 in ice time per game.
Tomorrow’s action will put a wrap on the preliminary round with four games, three of which involve a Lightning player or prospect. Vasily Koshechkin and Russia will take on Kirill Gotovets and Belarus, while Richard Panik, Vladimir Mihalik and the Slovaks face off against Kazakhstan, and Victor Hedman, Johan Harju and Sweden take on the Czech Republic. Also playing will be France and Norway.
The elimination round is slated to begin Friday.