Team USA gets in the win column against Kazakhstan
The Tampa Bay Lightning were held to a quiet day this afternoon at the World Championships in Germany. Team USA, with Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin, earned its first win of the tournament on the opening day of the relegation round with a 10-0 rout of Kazakhstan, while Russia, containing Lightning goaltending prospect Vasily Koshechkin, remained perfect as it beat Germany 3-2. France also earned a victory on Saturday, winning a one-goal decision over Italy, and Switzerland beat the Czech Republic in similar fashion by a score of 3-2.
Team USA received goals from eight different players, including three by Matt Gilroy. Gilroy’s teammate with the New York Rangers, Brandon Dubinsky, led all scorers with five points including four assists. Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin maintained his role as a permanent fixture behind the blue line, as he led the Americans in ice time with 18:36 despite being held off the score sheet.
Gilroy got started early, scoring two of Team USA’s four goals in the opening period. The Americans went on to score five more times in the second frame before adding an additional tally to seal the victory in the final period. Goaltender Scott Clemmensen also made 23 saves through the first two stanzas before yielding duties to Ben Bishop.
Koshechkin, who got one start in the preliminary round and carried the best save percentage of all Russian goaltenders at .969, received a day of rest today as he was seated in favor of Semyon Varlamov.
Russia got out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Ilya Kovalchuk and Nikolai Kulemin, but Germany climbed back as Christian Ehrhoff cut the deficit to one with just one second remaining the in the middle frame. Alexander Barta would add an additional goal for the Germans, but not before Alex Ovechkin provided the game-winner with 10 minutes remaining in regulation.
The action continues tomorrow with Lundin and Team USA battling France, Kazakhstan facing off against Italy, and Russia looking to stay undefeated as it takes on Denmark. Coming off a two-goal performance on Friday, Lightning prospect Martins Karsums will lead Latvia against Norway. Tampa Bay’s defensive product, Kirill Gotovets, will play in his third World Championship contest as well, as Belarus squares off with Germany. The day will be capped with the tournament’s premier matchup of the weekend, as Victor Hedman will attempt to slow down fellow Lightning teammates Steven Stamkos and Steve Downie when Sweden battles Canada.