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Josefson, Sweden top Czechs in opener

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils

Jacob Josefson battles former Devil Jaromir Jagr in Friday's world championships action. (Photo: Getty Images)

Jacob Josefson
and Team Sweden overcame a resilient effort by the host Czech Republic squad to win their preliminary-round opener at the 2015 IIHF World Championship on Friday.

Josefson recorded an assist (10:42 TOI) for the Swedes, who blew a 4-2 lead in the third period before coming back for a 6-5 shootout victory at O2 Arena in Prague. Josefson set up Joel Lundqvist’s even-strength marker that started the scoring 3:23 into the game.

Sweden carried a 3-1 lead into the final frame before the Czechs answered with four goals to go ahead, 5-4. The Swedes struck back with 53 seconds left in regulation, pulling goaltender Jhonas Enroth on a power play for a 6-on-4 advantage, then tying the game at 5.

Josefson was Sweden’s second shooter in the tiebreaker, but was denied by Alexander Halak. Josefson led the Devils this season with five shootout tallies in eight opportunities (62.5%).

Oliver Ekman-Larsson notched the shootout winner for Sweden, which took bronze in last year's tournament. Josefson is making his first international appearance since 2010 when he skated in the world juniors.

Sweden continues its Group A schedule Sunday against Austria.

Tuomo Ruutu and Team Finland opened their tournament with a 5-1 loss to the U.S. at CEZ Arena in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Ruutu recorded one shot in the setback and logged 15:23 of ice time. The Devils’ veteran winger is seeking his fifth medal in as many trips to the worlds, having collected gold in 2011, silver in 2007, and bronze in 2006 and 2008.

Matt Hendricks posted three points (2g-1a) for the Americans, who received multi-point games from five different players.

Finland continues Group B preliminary-round play against Denmark on Sunday.

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