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Tarasenko lifts Russia to shootout win over Sweden

Tarasenko lifts Russia to shootout win over Sweden

Sharks Blues Hockey

St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91), of Russia, reacts to missing a shot against the San Jose Sharks during the first period in Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference final series Friday, May 17, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Vladimir Tarasenko made his debut for Team Russia a memorable one Monday in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship in Riga, Latvia.

He scored the shootout winner in Russia’s 3-2 victory over Sweden and had the primary assist on Russia’s second goal.

All told, the Blues’ forward had four shots on goal and was plus-1, playing 13 minutes 56 seconds.

Tarasenko’s assist came when he took a stretch pass from Nikita Nesterov (who plays for the Calgary Flames), leading to a breakaway. Sweden goalie Adam Reideborn (who plays for Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL) made the save on Tarasenko’s shot, but the rebound went to Alexander Barbanov (San Jose Sharks) who scored, giving Russia a 2-1 lead with 7:14 left in regulation.

Victor Olofsson (Buffalo Sabres) tied it for Sweden, 2-2, with 4:43 left in the third period.

After a scoreless five-minute overtime, the teams went to a best-of-five shootout. It was 2-2 in shootout goals when Tarasenko became the fifth shootout participant for Russia. He skated in on Reideborn, patiently waiting until the last-second possible before sending a high shot in for the game-winner,

"There was a lot of pressure there," Tarasenko said, per "It was my first game but an important moment for us to clinch the playoffs today. A lot of credit to the Swedish team, they worked really hard and played really well.

"It was a hard game. We played really well together but there is a lot of areas we can improve. We have time to talk and get ready for tomorrow."

Russia leads Group A with 14 points and completes its seven-game preliminary round Tuesday against Belarus, which has only one win in the tournament.

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