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North America Dominates Finns In World Cup Opener

Landeskog scores in Sweden's victory

by Danielle Bernstein @DaniBernstein / ColoradoAvalanche.com

NORTH AMERICA (4) vs. FINLAND (1)

Team North America was firing on all cylinders in its opening game of the World Cup of Hockey on Sunday, taking a decisive 4-1 win over Finland.

North America got off to a 1-0 start in the opening frame with a power-play goal from Jack Eichel. The second period was all North America, as Johnny Gaudreau and Jonathan Drouin scored two minutes apart to extend the lead to three goals. 

Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon picked up his first tally of the tournament to give the under-24 club a commanding 4-0 lead late in the middle frame. He was named the Second Star of the Game after also contributing three shots in 14:39 of ice time.

Goaltender Matt Murray made 24 saves and held Finland scoreless until the 15:53 mark of the third stanza when Valtteri Filppula notched Finland's only goal of the contest to account for the 4-1 final score.

Eight of Team North America's 12 forwards registered a point in the game. Defenseman Colton Parayko led the way with two points, picking up assists on Gaudreau and MacKinnon's goals.

SWEDEN (2) vs. RUSSIA (1)

Sweden scored two goals in a 2:11 span of the second period and then withstood a furious rally by Russia to take a 2-1 win in its opening game of the World Cup of Hockey on Sunday. The win ends Sweden's 12-year drought against Russia in major international competition.

Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog got the Swedes on the board first with a power-play goal midway through the second period. Defenseman Victor Hedman lit the lamp at the 12:52 mark to give Sweden a 2-0 lead, tallying what ultimately was the game-winning goal.

Swedish goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who was starting in place of a sick Henrik Lundqvist, finished with 27 saves, including eight of nine in the third period as Russia attempted to mount a comeback. 

Landeskog played on a line with Colorado teammate Carl Soderberg, who played 14:23, had one shot and finished with a plus-1 rating.

Alex Ovechkin got Russia on the board early in the third period, but Markstrom stood strong in net for the rest of the stanza to secure the win for Sweden. Ovechkin thought he scored what would have been the game-tying goal with 8.2 seconds remaining in regulation, but it was ruled no goal when officials determined he batted the puck in with his hand.

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov did not play in the game for Russia, as he instead backed up starter Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 27 saves.

UP NEXT

Europe looks to build on a successful opening game against the United States as it takes on the Czech Republic at 1 p.m. MT. Russia and North America clash at 6 p.m. MT. Both games can be seen on ESPN2.

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