A couple of Detroit Red Wings defensemen squared off on the second day of the World Championship.
Olli Määttä had an assist to help edge Finland past Moritz Seider’s Germany with a 4-3 victory Saturday at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland. The Finns have won eight of the last 10 World Championship matchups against the Germans, with six of those victories decided by just one goal.
The victory for Finland bumped the host country into fourth place in Group A standings with three points. Määttä assisted on the first goal, scored by Joel Armia midway through the first period.
The Germans built a 2-1 lead midway through the game, but couldn’t sustain their attack. They fell to 0-2 and into last place in Group A after losing, 1-0, on opening day to Sweden, which has Wings forwards Lucas Raymond and Jonatan Berggren on the roster. The Germans next play Monday, against the U.S. Wings coach Derek Lalonde is an associate coach with the team, and prospect Carter Mazur already has an assist from the opening game against Finland.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Why Red Wings fans should pay attention to the IIHF World Championship
Finland’s recovery from Friday’s 4-1 loss to the U.S. came with a change in goaltending. Finnish coach Jukka Jalonen inserted two-time world champion and 2022 Olympic gold medalist Jussi Olkinuora, who made 10 saves. (The Finns were busier with the puck, directing 25 shots at Dustin Strahlmeier.) Olkinuora was signed by the Wings last fall in the hopes he could provide stability in net for the Grand Rapids Griffins, but Olkinuora struggled so much he was bought out in January so he could return to Europe.
While the Germans have had a tough start, they also began the tournament playing two of the toughest opponents in their group in Sweden and Finland. The U.S. will be another challenge, but the other preliminary round games will come against Denmark, Austria, Hungary and France, so there’s a good chance the Germans will finish inside the top four and advance to the quarterfinals. Their lineup was bolstered when coach Harold Kreis persuaded Seider to change his mind after saying the week after his second season with the Wings ended that he would forego the World Championship this year.
HAKUNA MATATA: Why Moritz Seider ‘being in a really good place’ is great for Red Wings
Seider and Määtta are among multiple Wings at the tournament. General manager Steve Yzerman is serving as an assistant GM with Canada, which has Joe Veleno on the roster. (Jake Walman had to pull out because of an upper-body injury.) Canada and Czechia (Dominik Kubalik is on that roster) are in Group B, which plays in co-host Latvia’s capital, Riga. The Canadians and Czechs are the powerhouses in that group, as Russia’s national team has been banned because of the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
Contact Helene St. James at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.
Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter.
Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.
Next up: The draft
What: 2023 NHL draft.
When/where: June 28-29; Nashville, Tennessee.
The Red Wings’ picks (with overall picks in parentheses): Round 1 — No. 9 (9), No. 17 (17); Round 2 — No. 8 (41), No. 9 (42), No. 10 (43); Round 3 — No. 9 (73); Round 4 — No. 22 (118); Round 5 — No. 9 (137); Round 6 — No. 9 (169); Round 7 — No. 9 (201).