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Ruutu, Finland overcome Belarus in shootout

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils

HEAD OVER HEELS: Artur Gavrus gets upended by Finland's Jyrki Jokipakka in Monday's game. (Photo: Getty Images)

Pekka Rinne made 23 saves to backstop Finland to a 3-2 shootout win over Belarus at the IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic on Monday.

Rinne's shutout streak at the worlds reached a modern-day record of 237:05, eclipsing the mark set by Jan Lasak of Slovakia in 2004. He has allowed only six goals in five appearances at this year's tournament and has recorded three shutouts.

"There is a reason why Rinne is a Vezina candidate in the U.S.," Tuomo Ruutu told the IIHF's official website. "He is a top notch goaltender and one of the best, if not the best in the game."

Belarus finally broke a scoreless tie five minutes into the third on a goal by Yevgeni Kovyrshin. Devils' prospect Artur Gavrus nearly made it 2-0 Belarus on a two-man advantage for 1:10, but was denied on the doorstep by Rinne.

"It was a big kill that’s for sure," Ruutu said. "It did get us going and we scored those goals. It would have been nice to get a win in regulation."

Finland responded to take a 2-1 lead and Gavrus helped set up the tying goal that forced overtime with 31 seconds left in regulation. The Devils' sixth-round pick in 2012, Gavrus has five points (2g-3a) in six games at the worlds, tying him for third on the team.

Jussi Jokinen's shootout marker sealed the victory for Finland.

Belarus can advance to the quarterfinals with one point in its preliminary round finale against Norway on Tuesday.

Ruutu has one assist in six contests for the Finns, who are tied with Russia for second place in Group B with 14 points, one behind first-place Team USA. Finland concludes its preliminary round against the Russians on Tuesday.

• Jacob Josefson opened the scoring in the first period of Sweden's 4-2 win over France on Monday. France rallied to take a 2-1 lead on second-period goals by Damien Fleury before the Swedes stormed back on two tallies by Filip Forsberg and one by the tournament's leading scorer Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Forsberg's second of the game broke a 2-2 tie in the third before Ekman-Larsson added an insurance marker.

Josefson has four points (2g-2a) in seven games for Sweden, which clinched second place in Group A and will open the quarterfinals on Thursday against the third-place team in Group B.

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