Ruutu was a part of one of the more impressive national team performances on Thursday, as Finland defeated Austria 8-4. He skated on a forward line with former Hurricane and current Pittsburgh Penguin Jussi Jokinen and ended up playing 14:59 with three shots on goal. Ruutu picked up the secondary assist on Sami Lepisto’s even-strength goal at 11:23 of the first period that tied the game at 2-2. He also was on the ice for Olli Maatta’s goal at 19:25 of the first period that put Finland on top 3-2. Ruutu was on ice for two of Austria’s goals, the first coming at 36 seconds of the first period by the New York Islanders’ Michael Grabner. He also was on ice for Grabner’s third goal with 5:38 left in regulation that pulled Austria within 7-4. The win placed Finland atop Group B, which includes Canada, Austria and Norway. Canada defeated Norway 3-1, putting Finland in first by goal differential.
Andrej Sekera, Slovakia
Despite a number of high-end NHL players, Slovakia turned in perhaps the worst performance of any nation in its opening game, falling 7-1 to the United States. Slovakia could have used a lot more performances like Sekera’s. He led all defensemen on his team, playing 19:08, and posted an even rating (he was one of only seven players on his team who was not a minus). He also had one of Slovakia’s 23 shots on goal. Competing in Group A with the United States, Russia and Slovenia, the Slovaks will now have a difficult time advancing to the knock-out round. A victory over Russia might be a necessity.
Alex Semin, Russia
The host nation Russians had a bit of a white-knuckle performance against heavy underdog Slovenia but pulled away in the third period for a 5-2 win. Semin played on his team’s top line with former Washington teammate Alex Ovechkin and center Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh). He assisted on Ovechkin’s goal, the first of the game, at 1:17 of the first period. He also was on ice for Malkin’s goal at 3:54 of the first that made it 2-0. He logged 15:59 of time on ice and had two shots on goal and finished plus-2.