Despite a decidedly lopsided matchup on paper the Russians were kept in check for much of their game against Denmark May 6. In the end, though, it was the much more powerful Russian team that came out on top by a 5-2 final.
Going into the game it would not have been a mistake to think Russia would dismantle the Danish team, given the circumstances. The Russians were coming off a somewhat surprising 4-2 loss to the United States just two days prior – one that earned heavy criticism from the Russian media – so an inspired effort was to be expected.
As for the Danes, they were playing shorthanded after two of their players were suspended for illegal hits in their game against Belarus, while another was battling a groin injury. For a Denmark team already lacking offensive muscle, losing three more players was a tough blow.
Still, it took almost 11 minutes to get the game’s first goal when Artemi Panarin found the net to give the Russians a 1-0 lead. They added another goal just three minutes later after Sergei Mozyakin scored (with Evgeni Malkin drawing an assist) to give Russia a 2-0 lead they took into the intermission.
The teams traded goals in the second period as Morten Green scored to put Denmark on the board, but Yevgeni Dadonov added to his tournament leading eight points (tied with Canada’s Taylor Hall) with a goal in the final minutes. Despite one again out chancing and outplaying Denmark the Russians only had a 3-1 lead going into the final period.
The Russians had numerous chances to widen their lead early in third, but were unable to capitalize, giving some momentum to Denmark. Thomas Spelling capitalized on the opportunity for the Danes, scoring mid-way through the period to bring Denmark back to within a goal.
But Russia was able to stave off the Danish attack for the remainder of the game, eventually scoring two goals in the final three minutes to secure the 5-2 win. Although the Russians sit tied for first in Group B (the Americans do have a game in hand), they haven’t looked very impressive despite facing some weak competition (the United States excluded).
Russia will get another relatively easy test in its next game when it faces Belarus May 9 at 6:15 a.m. EST.