Alex Ovechkin had an assist and a game-high five shots on goal as Russia beat Sweden 3-1 in the semifinals of the 2014 IIHF World Hockey Championships.
With the win, Russia has advanced to Sunday’s gold medal game where they will face Finland. The Finns beat the Czech Republic 3-0 in Saturday’s other semifinal game.
Ovechkin’s assist was his second in as many games since returning from a right leg injury he suffered in the preliminary round. Ovechkin now has three goals and nine points in eight games, with a plus-7 rating and a tournament-high 42 shots on goal.
“I had a new knee brace and felt much better,” Ovechkin told reporters in Minsk, Belarus. “I can't say I’m 100 percent fit but the situation is that one must be ready for anything. We have one game left and we must do everything to make sure we win.”
The Capitals said in a release this week that Ovechkin’s injury “requires rest,” but apparently that rest will have to wait until after Sunday’s tournament finale.
Including the preliminary round, Russia is a perfect 9-0 at the World Hockey Championships with the national team now in position to win its second world championship in three years. Ovechkin was one of eight players in Russia’s lineup on Saturday that failed to medal at the Sochi Games in February.
Ovechkin is seeking his third career gold medal at the world championships (2008, 2012), but his first as the team’s captain.
Capitals forward Evgeni Kuznetsov was held off the scoresheet in Saturday’s semifinal and has two goals and three points in nine games. Kuznetsov was also part of Russia’s 2012 gold medal team.