Damien Fleury and Antoine Roussel scored second-period goals and Florian Hardy stopped 28 shots as France recorded a 2-1 upset victory over Russia on Friday at the 2013 IIHF World Championship in a game played at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland.
The French players celebrated in jubilant fashion on the ice after the game ended. It was the country's first win in six tries against Russia at the Worlds since 1992.
"It's fantastic to beat the defending champions and the best players in the world," French coach Dave Henderson told the IIHF website. "It's so big for French hockey it's hard to describe."
Russia, which had started this year 3-0 in the preliminary round, saw its 13-game winning streak at the Worlds come to an end.
Neither side played its regular goaltender. Russia didn't dress starter Ilya Bryzgalov and gave Vasili Koshechkin the start over Semyon Varlamov. Koshechkin made 17 saves. Meanwhile, Hardy got his first start for France over Cristobal Huet.
Following a scoreless first period, the Russians got a prime opportunity when Alexander Radulov was awarded a penalty shot 6:42 into the second. Hardy stopped him, but then Alexander Perezhogin struck just 15 seconds later to open the scoring.
France came right back, with Fleury tying the score at 9:52, and then Roussel beat Koshechkin for an unassisted goal at the 16:48 mark.
France, which picked up its second win in the tournament, gets ready for another high-profile opponent when it faces the United States on Saturday.
Russia will try to rebound on Friday against host Finland.