Colorado Avalanche players were scattered throughout the scoresheet for Team Canada in the opening game of the 2015 World Championship at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic.
Forwards Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon scored while defenseman Tyson Barrie added an assist for Canada on Friday in a 6-1 victory over Latvia, a team that nearly provided an upset in a quarterfinal matchup between the squads at the 2014 Olympics.
MacKinnon also added two assists in the contest on goals from Jason Spezza for his first three-point game in IIHF competition. The Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia native had only recorded four total points (one goal and three assists) in eight World Championship games a year ago and only registered one assist in six contests at the 2013 World Juniors.
Sidney Crosby—on a penalty shot in the third period—and Tyler Toffoli also found the back of the cage for the Canadians, who scored the first five goals before Latvia (0-0-0-1) tallied at 12:06 of the third period.
MacKinnon was on the wing of Canada's top forward line with Crosby (also from Cole Harbour) and Spezza, and the trio lived up to its billing.
Canada (1-0-0-0) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period with MacKinnon, Duchene and Spezza finding twine. MacKinnon gave the Canadians a 1-0 lead midway through the stanza with a snipe from just inside the right circle. He then recorded the secondary assist on Spezza's tap-in tally nearly three minutes later.
"Obviously with Sid and Spezz, those guys are world-class players," MacKinnon said to the official IIHF website. "They make it really easy for me to play out there. Obviously they’re both very talented playmakers and they always have their heads up, looking for the open guys. So it’s definitely a lot of fun."
Duchene scored his first of the tournament with 5:49 left in the opening period after cutting into the slot and floating a shot over the right shoulder of Latvia goaltender Ervins Mustukovs. Barrie, who was paired on defense with Jake Muzzin and was making his World Championship debut, registered an assist on the goal.
The second period was much of the same for Canada as it scored on its first two shots to take a 5-0 advantage. O'Reilly was originally rewarded a secondary assist on the first goal at 2:20 of the middle frame, but the tally was later changed from Dan Hamhuis to Toffoli, pushing O'Reilly off the scoresheet.
MacKinnon picked up his second helper and third point of the night 1:16 after Toffoli's goal when Spezza tallied his second of the game.
Canada will have Saturday off before returning to action against Germany on Sunday at 8:15 a.m. MT.
Sweden (6) vs. Czech Republic (5) - Shootout
The Czech Republic made a furious rally in the third period but fell 6-5 in a shootout to Sweden in the opening game of the World Championship on its home soil.
Trailing 3-1 after the second period, the Czechs scored four goals in the final frame to take a late 5-4 lead before Sweden's Mattias Sjogren tallied on a 6-on-4 power play with 53 seconds remaining.
Sweden won the shootout 2-1.
Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda had an assist in the third period for the Czech Republic and finished with 18:27 of ice time. He was on the top defensive pairing with Ondrej Nemec.
The Czech Republic (0-0-1-0) takes on Latvia on Saturday at 12:15 p.m. MT.
United States (5) vs. Finland (1)
The United States scored four unanswered goals and breezed through its first preliminary game with a 5-1 victory over Finland at CEZ Arena in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Team captain Matt Hendricks paced the U.S. (1-0-0-0) with two goals and an assist while Steve Moses and Dan Sexton each recorded a tally and a helper.
Avalanche defenseman Zach Redmond did not play in the first contest, as he was one of two healthy scratches for the Americans.
USA will next play Norway on Saturday at 12:15 p.m. MT. The game will be televised live on NBCSN.
Russia (6) vs. Norway (2)
Russia scored four first period goals and added two more in the second en route to a 6-2 win over Norway.
Avalanche prospect Jonas Holos had an assist on Norway's first goal of the game just 25 seconds into the second period.
Norway (0-0-0-1) faces the United States on Saturday while Russia (1-0-0-0) plays Slovenia on Sunday.