The rest of the organization waits at home, but Nino Niederreiter’s playing for gold on Sunday. He scored the first goal on a two-on-one off a neutral-zone turnover, and he assisted on Reto Suri’s breakaway empty-netter (complete with Suri’s awesome leap-into-bench celebration) to put away Switzerland’s 3-0 win over the United States. First chance I’d had to watch, and Niederreiter looked really good: playing a physical game, using his size, getting to the net with and without the puck. He’ll get a chance at national sporting heroism. Switzerland plays tomorrow afternoon against Sweden, which beat Finland 3-0 as Jhonas Enroth made 30 saves.
(Wrapping up the quarterfinals, Eric Staal has a third-degree MCL strain that the Hurricanes hope will be healed in time for next season.)
Two elimination-game Game 5s in the AHL tonight. Edit below.
Neither Providence nor Grand Rapids closed out their series tonight, so on they go. The Penguins shut out the Bruins on 30 Brad Thiessen stops, not counting whatever blows he may have blocked from Graham Mink as the Bruins vet earned himself a match penalty. Toronto kept things going, too; three points, including the first goal, for Spencer Abbott.
Game 6 in Providence is Monday; it’s Tuesday in Toronto. Both series would play a Game 7 on Wednesday.