Semyon Varlamov stopped all 29 shots he faced as Russia continued its remarkable run at the 2012 IIHF World Championship by completing its round-robin schedule with an undefeated record, defeating Italy 4-0 Monday at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm.
The Italians, having finished in last place in their group, will be relegated to the next division for 2013.
Russia overwhelmed Italy by outshooting it by a 40-29 margin. While no individual players dominated the game, the usual suspects were involved as Pavel Datsyuk scored the game's opening goal, Evgeni Malkin picked up an assist and highly-touted Capitals prospect Evgeni Kuznetsov tallied one of each. In a relatively clean game, only three minor penalties were committed and all four goals were scored at even strength.
2012 IIHF HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP
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The Russians will face either Norway or the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals Thursday.
Finland 4, Kazakhstan 1
The defending champions had endured two embarrassing losses in a row to Canada and the United States and if Valtteri Filppula had anything to say about it, the Finns weren't going to suffer a third. Filppula made sure of it with two goals and two assists at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki.
In a dominating performance to finish the preliminary round, the Finns outshot Kazakhstan 44-17.
Mikko Koivu, Mikko Maenpaa and Juuso Hietanen each tallied two points, while Konstantin Pushkaryov scored the lone goal for Kazakhstan. Despite the loss, Kazakhstan goalie Vitali Kolesnik played well, making 44 saves, while Petri Vehanen stopped 17 of 18 shots for Finland.
The Finns will now advance to the quarterfinal round, while Kazakhstan is finished for the tournament.
Denmark 2, Latvia 0
Morten Green and Morten Madsen each scored in the second period, as Denmark picked up its first win of the tournament at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm.
The win has given Denmark the opportunity to avoid relegation when it faces Norway on Tuesday in its final game of the round-robin. For Latvia, the loss ended any chance of the country moving on to the quarterfinals.
While Green and Madsen's goals proved the difference for the Danes, the best player on the ice Monday was almost certainly Danish goalie Frederik Andersen, who stopped all 35 shots he faced for the shutout.
France 2, Belarus 1
The French and Belarussians played a tight game throughout, but eventually it was France's Johann Auvitu's goal with 1:17 remaining that proved the difference at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki in a game with wide-ranging implications.
For the French, they now have a chance to advance to the quarterfinals if they can beat Slovakia in regulation in their final round-robin game Tuesday. The loss for Belarus nearly put them in position to be relegated from the top division. Had Kazakhstan defeated Finland, Belarus would have been forced to get at least one point against Canada on Tuesday to stay in the top group.
Belarus grabbed the lead in the first period with a goal by Alexei Kalyuzhny, but France tied the game late in the second period on a goal by Kevin Hecquefeuille that resulted in Belarussian goaltender Vitali Koval getting pulled from the game.
French goalie Cristobal Huet finished with 21 saves on 22 shots.