TORONTO — Vladimir Tarasenko and Ivan Telegin scored 1:19 apart in the second period and Russia beat Finland 3-0 on Thursday to set up a World Cup of Hockey semifinal against Canada — and knock out Team North America.
“The opportunity is huge,” Russian captain Alex Ovechkin said about facing Canada. “They have a pretty good team with solid players. We just have to match it. …
“I play Olympic Games in (Canada) and everybody is going to be crazy. The atmosphere’s going to be unbelievable. It’s going to be a great match to play, to be involved in, to be in the stands and be able to watch.”
Evgeni Malkin scored in the third period for Russia (2-1-0), and Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves .
“It’s going to be a great, great challenge and we accept it,” Russian forward Evgeny Kuznetsov said.
Tuukka Rask made 19 saves for Finland (0-3-3). Finland was winless for the first time in a senior tournament, scoring only one goal in three games.
“We had a good chance to succeed here, but you don’t score, you can’t win,” Finnish coach Lauri Marjamaki said. “We have to keep going and maybe analyze a little bit later. Just now, a little bit disappointing.”
Russian forward Pavel Datsyuk missed the preliminary round finale because of a minor injury.
“A loss for us, but we did well today,” Russian coach Oleg Znarok said.
Russia will face Canada on Saturday night. In the other semifinal, Sweden will play Team Europe on Sunday.
Finland nearly opened the scoring early in the second period when Mikael Granlund beat Bobrovsky glove-side, but rang a shot off the post.
Tarasenko finished off a give-and-go with Ovechkin for his second goal of the tournament at 3:42 of the second period.
Telegin picked up Vadim Shipachev’s feed and powered around Rask for his first of the tournament at 5:01 of the second.
Malkin scored his first of the tournament at 3:39 of the third period.
Tarasenko played on the Russian team that beat Canada to win the 2011 world junior title in Buffalo, New York.
“I think this is one of the greatest rivalries ever: Canada against Russia,” Tarasenko said. “We know how they play because we play in Pittsburgh before. They have a really good team, good players, (the) best players in the world so we need to be good in a couple days.”