Ryan O'Reilly scored in overtime to lift Canada into the semi-finals with a thrilling 5-4 win over archrival Russia on Thursday.
From the right faceoff circle, captain Connor McDavid skimmed a perfect pass underneath the stick of Russian defenceman Bogdan Kiselevich to O'Reilly, who tipped it past netminder Igor Shestyorkin for a power play goal at 4:57.
After triumphing in this quarter-final, Canada will face the winner of Finland-Switzerland on Saturday.
Leading Russian goal-scorer Kirill Kaprizov was in the box for slashing. The 21-year-old scored the golden overtime winner for the Russians against Germany in February's Olympics, but played the goat here.
"My penalty decided everything," said Kaprizov. "I broke the rules. I shouldn’t have got involved there. But I didn’t think the refs were going to call the penalty. It was their call."
Canada, which settled for silver last year, will now seek its fourth consecutive World Championship medal and first gold since 2016. That Moscow victory was also masterminded by current head coach Bill Peters, with McDavid potting the golden goal against the Finns.
In regulation, Colton Parayko scored a goal and added an assist for Canada, while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Kyle Turris and Pierre-Luc Dubois added singles. McDavid added three helpers, and now has 16 points.
Ilya Mikheyev, Alexander Barabanov, Sergei Andronov and Artyom Anisimov scored for Russia. Nikita Zaitsev racked up three assists.
Canada outshot Russia 41-30. Canada’s previously mediocre power play came to life at the perfect time, clicking three times.
"The power play’s important," said McDavid. "We may not have been great through the group stage, but we were dangerous tonight. We did a lot of good things."
Many of the Russian players here won Olympic gold in PyeongChang, but missed their chance to become the only team besides the 2006 Swedes (Turin and Riga) to win Olympic and World Championship gold in the same year.
The result also ends a four-year Worlds medal streak for Russia. Under former head coach Oleg Znarok, Russia won gold in Minsk in 2014, took silver in Prague in 2015, and had back-to-back bronzes in Moscow in 2016 and Cologne in 2017. Znarok, who guided the champions in PyeongChang, was replaced by his assistant Ilya Vorobyov for these Worlds.
Canada entered this quarter-final with two straight playoff-round wins over Russia, including the 6-1 gold medal romp in Prague 2015 and the 4-2 semi-final victory last year, in which O'Reilly also scored the winner.
"It feels good," said O'Reilly. "I hope I’ve got a few more in me for sure."
In front of 9,017 fans at the Royal Arena, this was a showdown between captains with impeccable if very different pedigrees: two-time NHL scoring champion McDavid, 21, and freshly minted Triple Gold Club member Pavel Datsyuk, 38.
The Russians made a somewhat surprising decision by giving Shestyorkin the start after the towering Vasili Koschechkin, the PyeongChang starter, carried the load through the preliminary round. The 22-year-old Shestyorkin, who backed up Mikko Koskinen with KHL powerhouse SKA St. Petersburg this year, did not concede a goal in 140 minutes of preliminary-round playing time.
Darcy Kuemper of the Arizona Coyotes, who has gotten Canada’s tougher games over Curtis McElhinney, returned between the pipes.
"I felt our group did a good job being resilient," said McDavid. "We kept plugging away and finally we got a win."
In the first period, Canada controlled the play, outshooting the Russians 12-4 and surrendering few quality opportunities. When Nikita Soshnikov tested Kuemper early on, the Canadian netminder was equal to the challenge.
Canada got the first power play when Sergei Andronov was called for tripping Braydenn Schenn in a prime scoring position. Parayko ended the goalie’s shutout streak with a howitzer at 4:45 from inside the blue line, which McDavid set up with a nice drop pass. It was the third goal and sixth point of the tournament for the St. Louis Blues defenceman, who was voted to the tournament all-star team last year (3-4-7).
The Russians began to carry the play midway through the second period, and Kuemper foiled Yevgeni Dadonov when he curled out front for a wraparound attempt.
Andronov went off again at 10:47 for hauling down Mat Barzal while forechecking behind the net, and once again the Russians paid the price. It took 1:04 for Canada to capitalize. With a head’s-up pass, McDavid found Nugent-Hopkins in the left faceoff circle, and his quick release squeezed past Shestyorkin on the stick side.
At 12:53, the Russians cut the deficit to 2-1. An unguarded Anisimov couldn’t put the puck past Kuemper’s right pad, but he centered it back through the crease for Mikheyev to bang into the gaping cage.
"When we started to break up Canada’s game and scored our first goal, everything got a bit easier for us," said Kaprizov.
Dadonov continued to make trouble behind the Canadian net. With a delayed penalty coming up to Canada, the Florida Panthers star sent a backhanded pass past two Canadian sticks to Barabanov, who elevated it past Kuemper’s right arm to tie it up at 2-2 with his fourth goal of the tournament.
"In the second period, they went very hard at us," said Nugent-Hopkins. "They knew that they needed to respond and they did."
The third period turned into an offensive madhouse.
At 7:11, Turris capitalized on a Canadian odd-man rush for a 3-2 lead. Jaden Schwartz grabbed the puck in the neutral zone, raced down the right side and pulled up in the faceoff circle before passing it cross-ice to Turris, whose slap shot slid through Shestyorkin's outstretched legs.
"Jaden made a great play for Turris and that was a huge goal," said McDavid.
The Russians made it 3-3 at 8:46. Zaitsev's rising shot from the side boards deflected in off the upper body of Andronov, who was stationed in front.
At 12:36, Dubois picked up a juicy rebound from Tyson Jost's initial shot and, evading the backchecking of Ilya Kablukov, put it past Shestyorkin.
At 14:34, Anisimov unleashed a fearsome backhander that surprised Kuemper high on the short side to make it 4-4.
Canadians have always relished dramatic victories over their Russian foes, from Paul Henderson’s Game Eight winner in the 1972 Summit Series to Mario Lemieux’s top-shelf goal set up by Wayne Gretzky in the 1987 Canada Cup to the full-team devastation in the 7-3 quarter-final win at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. You can add this one to the list.
"They are one of the best hockey nations out there," said O'Reilly. "It’s a big rivalry. They have some of the best players in the world and I think Canada does too. It’s just a clash. There’s never, ever an easy game against Russia, that’s for sure."
The last time Canada and Russia went to overtime at the Worlds, Ilya Kovalchuk scored on the power play to give the Russians a 5-4 victory for gold in Quebec City in 2008.
Including the Soviet period and Olympics that counted as World Championships between 1920 and 1968, Russia has won 27 World Championship gold medals to Canada’s 26. Canada now has a chance to equal that score.