Mikko Rantanen scores twice as Finland dumps Canada 5-1 at hockey worlds

HERNING, Denmark — The road to the medal round got tougher for Canada on Saturday at the world hockey championship.

Mikko Rantanen scored two goals as Finland beat Canada 5-1. Rantanen and Janne Pesonen scored on the power play for the Finns, who also had goals from Eeli Tolvanen and Teuvo Teravainen.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau had the lone goal for Canada.

Canada entered the game with a perfect 12-for-12 record on the penalty kill, but Pesonen and Rantanen both struck with the man advantage to give Finland a two-goal lead after one period.

“There was nothing different,” said Bo Horvat, who has been one of Canada’s key penalty killers. “I think they just moved it around pretty quick. They’ve got a lot of skilled forwards out there and they made some good plays.”

“They were able to expose some seams,” added coach Bill Peters. “They did a good job of quick puck movement and had a real good plan.”

For their part, Canada’s power play was 5-for-17 coming in but went 0-for-5 against the Finns.

“We’re going to have to make some adjustments,” said Peters. “We didn’t handle the puck pressure up top very well.”

Finland moved into second place in Group B, one point behind the United States. Canada sat fourth with 10 points but has played one less game than third-place Denmark.

Two games remain for the Canadians in the round-robin portion of the tournament: Monday against Latvia and Tuesday against Germany. The top four teams from each bracket will advance to Thursday’s quarter-finals.

Finland opened the scoring at the 8:50 mark of the first period off an own goal for Canada, when Brayden Schenn accidentally tipped the puck between the pads of goaltender Curtis McElhinney. Rantanen was given credit.

Pageau drew Canada even with his first of the tournament at 10:55 before Finland went to work with the man advantage. With Josh Bailey serving an interference penalty, Pesonen deflected a puck past McElhinney from the top of the crease at 13:48.

Rantanen then outwaited McElhinney before roofing a backhander for his second of the game at 16:35 while Anthony Beauvillier was serving a tripping penalty.

“We didn’t establish a rhythm,” said Peters. “I thought they did a better job establishing their team game before we did.”

“We were always behind, trying to play catch-up,” said Connor McDavid, who served a high-sticking double minor in the third period as part of Canada’s 22 total minutes in penalties. “When you’re behind people like that, you’re going to hook and hold and you’re going to take some penalties.”

Making his fourth start in net after being rested for the final 11:48 of Canada’s 5-0 win over Norway on Thursday, McElhinney made six saves on nine shots before being pulled by Peters after Rantanen’s second goal.

Darcy Kuemper was beaten twice in his 43:25 of playing time. He gave up goals 10 seconds apart in the third period to Tolvanen and Teravainen.

Sharp in the Finnish net, Harri Sateri made 30 saves. Pageau’s first-period shot was the only one to beat him, after being deflected by a Finnish defender.

Making his tournament debut with Canada after the San Jose Sharks were eliminated from the NHL playoffs, Marc-Edouard Vlasic drew onto Canada’s top defensive pairing with Aaron Ekblad.

“I’m here to win,” said Vlasic. “Tonight was embarrassing and that’s not us, 5-1 — that’s unacceptable.”

Thomas Chabot of the Ottawa Senators was scratched to make room for Vlasic in the lineup.

After skating with Jokerit of the KHL, the Nashville Predators of the NHL and for Finland at both the 2018 world junior and Olympic tournaments this season, 19-year-old forward Tolvanen scored a goal and added an assist in his first world championship game.

He joined the Finnish team in Denmark after the Predators’ elimination earlier this week.

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