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IIHF Update: Bellows & Barzal on to Quarter-Finals



Team USA Forward, Islanders Kieffer Bellows

As we sit here on Wednesday, May 25, there is a break in the action over in Finland. As of Tuesday, all teams playing in the 2022 IIHF World Championships have finished their preliminary round schedule.  For the New York Islanders, both Mathew Barzal and Team Canada and Kieffer Bellows and Team USA, are on to the Quarter-Finals.

Before we delve into the standings, here is a quick sum-up of how the point system works per the IIHF rulebook.

A team gets three points for a regulation win, two points for an overtime win, one point for an overtime loss, and zero points for a regulation loss. That is the order in which the record is written.

Team Canada finished third in Group A with five regulation wins and two regulation losses (5-0-0-2) record and will play Sweden, who finished second in Group B with five regulation wins, an overtime win and an overtime loss. (5-1-1-0).

Team USA finished fourth in Group B (3-2-0-2) and will be facing Switzerland (6-1-0-0), the top team from Group A.

Mathew Barzal joined Team Canada after the tournament started, as he missed the opening game.

For the entirety of the first round, Barzal skated with Ottawa Senators Drake Batherson and Columbus Blue Jackets Kent Johnson.  In six games played, Barzal has just two assists in 18:02 ATOI.

In his first game, a 6-1 rout of Italy, Barzal notched a secondary assist on Kent Johnson’s goal that made it a 4-1 contest.

Barzal’s second and final assist of the opening round came in a 6-3 loss to Switzerland. He notched the primary assist on Drake Batherson’s goal to give the Canadians a 3-2 lead in the middle frame before a third-period collapse.

The 24-year-old Barzal recorded 14 shots on goal in the six games (2.33 per game) with four PIM to go along with it. He also owned a plus/- of -1.

Kieffer Bellows has had a bit more success for Team USA, with three goals and an assist in seven games while having averaged 15:27 minutes played per game. He did receive a major penalty for an elbow he threw, with seven total penalty minutes in the seven games.

Two of his three goals came against a weak Great Britain team, but they were goals nevertheless, and one was an absolute missile.

Like we saw with the Islanders, Bellows has not hesitated to shoot the puck, with a team-high 30 shots on goal so far (4.29 shots per game). He is also a +3.

Unlike Barzal at the tournament, but like Barzal during the regular season, his New York Islanders teammate has had different linemates and played on different lines through the preliminary round.

Bellows started on the third line with Colorado Avalanche’s Ben Meyers and Detroit Red Wings Riley Barber and played three games with these two.

For the fourth game, his breakout game against Great Britain, Team USA head coach David Quinn penciled Bellows in on the top line with Ottawa Senators Adam Gaudette and Montreal Canadiens Sean Farell. He remained there for the fifth game against Sweden.

In Game 6, a 1-0 loss to Czechia, Bellows was on the second line alongside Seattle Kraken’s Karson Kuhlman and Los Angeles Kings T.J. Tynan. For Game 7, Bellows and Tynan remained on the second line, but Gaudette joined them.

Can Mathew Barzal play more of a role and help Team Canada move on to the semi-finals? Can Kieffer Bellows find the back of the net again and get Team USA past the best team at the tournament?

Both quarter-final games will be played on Thursday, May 26. Canada faces Sweden at 9:20 AM ET, and USA faces Switzerland at 1:20 PM ET.

You can watch the games on NHL Network.

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