Many Washington Capitals players have stepped away from the game of hockey for a little bit to begin the offseason. Not these following five players though.
Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov with Team Russia as well as Jakub Vrana and Dmitrij Jaskin of the Czech Republic will begin tournament play in the 2019 IIHF World Championship on Thursday.
For these five athletes, it’s the same goal. Win a gold medal for their country. Unsurprisingly, Ovechkin and Team Russia are the heavy favorites. They dominated the round robin going 7-0 in Group B.
Their last game was a 7-4 win over Team Sweden. Ovechkin and Orlov each scored their second goals of the tournament in the win. Orlov finished round robin play with six points (2 goals, 4 assists) while Ovechkin has three points.
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As for Kuznetsov, he recorded an assist on Team Russia’s second goal of the game to give them a lead they would never look back on. Kuznetsov has six points with four coming as assists. Team Russia outscored their opponents 36-7 throughout the preliminaries.
You can catch Team Russia against Team USA on Thursday at 10 a.m. eastern on NHL Network.
But the Russian trio isn’t the only team to keep an eye on this weekend. Vrana and Jaskin have both been key components of a dark horse Czech Republic team. They’ll face Team Germany in the quarterfinals.
Czech Republic is coming off a 5-4 win over Switzlerland. Neither Jaskin or Vrana scored but each had two shots. It was a wild contest where the game-winning goal came on an empty net from Jan Rutta with 1:27 left.
Part of the reason Switzerland pulled the goalie was to go for the win for seeding purposes but alas came up short. Switzerland will face Team Canada in the other 10 a.m. game of the day.
Vrana has shined the brightest among all the Capitals players in the 2019 IIHF Worlds. He has four goals and an assist for five points including a two-goal game against Team Sweden.
Jaskin had a two-goal game himself in a blowout win over Team Italy and four points overall. His future with the Capitals is uncertain and after a lack of playing time in the second half it isn’t likely that he will be back with the team next season.
You can catch the Czech Republic against Team Germany on Thursday at 2 p.m. The semifinals are on Saturday with the Bronze and Gold-medal games the following day.