Canada ends Finland's unbeaten streak at hockey worlds
RIGA, Latvia (AP) - Jeff Carter scored two short-handed goals Monday, leading Canada past Finland 4-2 and into first place in Group E at hockey's world championships.
In Group F, Alexei Mikhnov scored his second goal of the game with 4:13 left to give Russia a 3-3 tie with Olympic champion Sweden and remain unbeaten.
Finland dropped to second place with seven points. The Czech Republic can overtake Canada with a win Wednesday over the United States, which has four points and also has clinched a quarterfinal spot.
Carter's first goal gave Canada a 2-0 lead late in the opening period. He beat Finnish goalie and Philadelphia Flyers teammate Antero Niittymaki again early in the second session after a solo breakaway.
Although uncertain, Carter was confident it was the first time he had scored two short-handed goals in a game.
"I think it is," Carter said. "It's not too often you get a couple of chances short-handed, so it was nice that they went in."
Carter scored only one goal in five previous games at the worlds.
"I don't think I was brought here to produce offense," he said. "In the first few games I was kind of sluggish and missed some opportunities. So it was nice to bury my chances tonight."
Canada, coming off its only loss to the Czech Republic the night before, finished second-round play with eight points. For Finland, which has 10 members of its Olympic silver-medal winning squad, it was the first loss in the tournament.
Patrice Bergeron and Brad Boyes also scored for Canada. Sidney Crosby set up Boyes' goal with a nice pass from behind the net. The goal came at 11:36, just 50 seconds after Petteri Nummelin had scored a power-play goal to cut the lead to 3-2. Crosby is the championship's leading scorer with six goals and six assists in six games.
Niittymaki, who had the top save percentage in the tournament going into the game, left the ice for good midway through second period because of an undisclosed injury. He was replaced by Fredrik Norrena.
Marc Denis made 38 saves for Canada, which was outshot 40-25.
Mikhnov backhanded a rebound past Swedish goalie Johan Holmqvist to salvage a point in the standings for Russia, which entered the game having already clinched the top spot in Group F.
Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin scored Russia's other goal, his fifth of the tournament, just 1:22 into the game.
Mikael Samuelsson scored two power-play goals for Sweden and Jorgen Jonsson gave his team a 3-2 lead at 12:58 of the second period. But Russian goalie Maxim Sokolov thwarted Sweden the rest of the way, making 26 saves in his first appearance of the tournament after returning from a knee injury.
Russia finished with nine points while Sweden has six. Belarus and Switzerland both have four, Slovakia three. On Tuesday, Switzerland plays Belarus while Slovakia faces Ukraine.
The top four in each group advance to the quarterfinals later this week.
In final relegation-round play, Denmark edged Kazakhstan 3-2 and Italy rallied from three goals down to tie Slovenia 3-3. Denmark and Italy will remain in hockey's elite championship, while Kazakhstan and Slovenia were relegated.