Russia crush Finland to reach final

Russia score a big 4-0 victory over Finland.

    The Russians are coming...to the final [GALLO/GETTY]
    Sergei Fedorov scored midway through the first period and Russia beat Finland 4-0 to advance to the final of the ice hockey World Championship.

    Danis Zaripov, Alexei Morozov and Maxim Sushinsky also scored for Russia, which avenged a 2-1 semifinal loss to the Finns at last year's World Championship in Moscow. Evgeny Nabokov made 23 saves for the shutout.

    In the final, Russia will meet Canada who defeated Sweden.

    It is the Russians' first trip to the final since 2002, when they were beaten 4-3 by Slovakia in Linkoping, Sweden. Russia has not won the tournament since 1993.

    The Finns were playing a solid defensive game until 13 minutes into the first period, when the Russians jumped on their first break to get the opening goal, to the delight of the largely pro-Russian crowd at the Pepsi Colisee.

    Saku Koivu was unable to handle a pass at the Russian blue-line and Alexander Semin jumped on the puck to start a 3-on-1 counter with Washington teammates Alexander Ovechkin and Fedorov.

    Four passes later, Fedorov shot Semin's pass into an open side behind a helpless Niklas Backstrom.

    The Russians pounce

    A turnover produced another goal 3:44 into the second period when Sergei Zinoviev made a cross-ice pass to Andrei Markov, who then fed Zaripov for a shot into an open net.

    Finland complicated its own comeback attempt in the third period by taking a pair of too many men on the ice penalties three minutes apart.

    During the second of them, Morozov beat Backstrom on a shot from the right circle at 12:35.

    Backstrom was pulled for an extra attacker with 2:41 to play, but Shushinsky scored into the empty net at 17:58 to seal the victory.

    The Russians were without Atlanta Thrashers star Ilya Kovalchuk, who served a one-game suspension for taking two game misconducts in the tournament.

    He was replaced by former Quebec Remparts forward Alexander Radulov, who was used sparingly.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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