Predators Trio Lead U.S. to Semifinals at IIHF Worlds

The Nashville Predators were one of most represented NHL teams at the IIHF worlds on Thursday.

It was the quarterfinals and all seven players representing the franchise made the elimination round. All of these players made their presence felt.

USA vs. Switzerland

The game with the most Nashville Predators was the opening game of the IIHF quarterfinals between the Group B-winning United States and Switzerland, who placed fourth in Group A.

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This IIHF worlds quarterfinal game boasted five Nashville players as Team USA had Seth Jones, Steve Moses and draft pick Jimmy Vesey. Roman Josi and Kevin Fiala were the Preds representing Switzerland.

The Americans came into the game as a favorite, but it was Josi that gave the Swiss the lead after this wonderful piece of skill against the U.S.

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The goal showed everything that Nashville fans have been raving about since he joined the team. Josi was making moves that forwards usually pull off.

However, the U.S. kept calm and popped in a pair of goals within 57 seconds apart. The tying goal was scored by Ben Smith, but it was Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey that did the lion’s share. Vesey made a move behind the net and found Smith in the slot.

Charlie Coyle then put the Americans up for good, but the goal had a bit of a Nashville flair to it. Seth Jones blasted a slap shot from the point that Coyle tipped passed Reto Berra.

The U.S. would win 3-1, and three Predators advanced to the semifinals against Russia and Alexander Ovechkin.

Steve Moses may not have scored, but he created a lot of problems with his speed. Kevin Fiala of Switzerland didn’t score, but managed three hits.

Czech Republic vs. Finland

The other Predators in the tournament didn’t fare as well as the American group. Finland had rode the spectacular shutout streak of Preds’ goalie Pekka Rinne to second in Group B behind Team USA at the IIHF worlds.

pekka rinne playoffs 2012
(Pekka Rinne could not stop Jaromir Jagr and the host Czechs at the IIHF Worlds. – Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE)

However, the Finns couldn’t overcome the energetic home crowd that our own Joseph Vito DeLuca got to experience firsthand.

Rinne and Finland would jump out to the lead on multiple occasions, but could not overcome the great Jaromir Jagr.

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Rinne finished with 27 saves, but Finland was sent home from the IIHF worlds.

Sweden vs. Russia

The other Nashville Predator in a quarterfinal was Filip Forsberg and Sweden against Russia. I gave away the result earlier as Russia beat Sweden, 5-3.

Forsberg, who came into the game as the leading scorer, was held without a goal on six shots for the Swedes.

Forsberg bows out of the IIHF worlds with eight goals, and will probably earn a spot on the all-tournament team.

What’s Next at the IIHF Worlds

The only Predators that are left are the ones on Team USA, who face a tough test against Russia. The Americans won the first encounter, 4-2, but Alex Ovechkin will be back for the defending champions.

However, this U.S. team has been full of surprises and Nashville players like Seth Jones, Steve Moses and Jimmy Vesey could play big hand in the Americans winning its first gold at the IIHF worlds since 1933.

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Dan Mount is a Nashville Predators staff writer for The Hockey Writers. You can follow him on Twitter, @DanMountSports.