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Canada dominates with 9-1 win over France at Worlds

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
KOSICE, Slovakia -- Canada is looking like a top contender at the IIHF World Hockey Championship.

Jeff Skinner scored two goals, including one on a penalty shot, while James Reimer made 22 saves Sunday as the Canadians hammered France 9-1.

Unlike fellow top teams Russia and Sweden, Canada managed to get through early games against weaker opponents unscathed. The team looked strong in outscoring Belarus and France by a combined 13-2, making sure not to give either much of a chance at an upset.

Marc-Andre Gragnani, Jason Spezza, Chris Stewart, Alex Pietrangelo, Brent Burns, Rick Nash and Travis Zajac also had goals for Canada.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare replied with France's first goal of the tournament.

The Canadians scored early and often to chase Cristobal Huet from the net after just one period. Gragnani buried a wrist shot on his first shift of the tournament at 1:02 on a power play before Spezza and Skinner both struck to make it 3-0 after 20 minutes.

Reimer had to be fairly sharp in the early going as France had a couple dangerous chances, including a breakaway by captain Laurent Meunier.

His shutout bid was ended on a nice shot by Bellemare at 9:14 of the second period on a power play -- one of four in row France received in the second period.

Veteran French goaltender Fabrice L'Henry had some initial success after entering the game, but couldn't keep Canada off the scoreboard for long. Stewart made it 4-1 off a goal-mouth scramble at 16:06 and Pietrangelo extended the lead just 43 seconds later.

In the third period, Nash set up Burns and scored with a nice individual effort to give him another piece of history at this event. He now has 41 career points here, moving past Steve Yzerman into second place behind Dany Heatley's 62 points.

Skinner got his second of the game on a penalty shot before Zajac made it 9-1.

With the game out of reach in the third period, coach Ken Hitchcock sent backup goalie Devan Dubnyk in for his first work of the tournament. He didn't allow a goal in roughly 13 minutes of action.

Notes: Canadian defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo and goalie Jonathan Bernier watched from the stands after arriving from North America ... France coach Dave Henderson gave his son Brian just over four minutes of ice time through two periods.
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