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Kovalchuk scores goal, assist in loss to Finland

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils

Ilya Kovalchuk
potted a goal and an assist, but Russia's rally from a two-goal deficit fell short in Friday's 3-2 loss to host Finland at the IIHF World Championship.

Russia had won 13 in a row at the worlds before their current two-game slide. The defending gold medalists were upset by France on Thursday and are back in action Sunday against Slovakia.

Petri Kontiola scored twice for Finland, which grabbed the lead 3:22 into the first period. Kovalchuk set up Alexander Radulov's power-play goal that tied the contest, 1-1, 3:37 into the second period, but Kontiola would respond to put Finland back on top

Juhamatti Aaltonen's power-play marker at 16:00 of the second gave the Finns a 3-1 lead and held up as the game winner.

Late in regulation, Russia pulled goaltender Semyon Varlamov for the extra attacker and capitalized when Kovalchuk beat Antti Raanta for his sixth of the tournament with 1:48 to go.

Russia outshot the Finns, 21-3, in the third period, but couldn't solve Raanta for the equalizer. The Finnish netminder finished with 34 saves.

Tempers flared in the dying seconds. Kovalchuk and Finland's Janne Pesonen each received five minutes for roughing and a game misconduct with three seconds on the clock.

Kovalchuk has been an offensive force at this year's worlds, collecting nine points (6g-3a) in five games. He leads the Russians in goals, points, plus-minus (7), and penalty minutes (25).

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