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Stamkos leads Team Canada to 4-1 victory over Italy in preliminary round opener

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos and Matt Duchene each recorded a goal and an assist to lead Canada to a 5-1 victory over Italy on Saturday during the second day of play at the 2010 IIHF World Championships in Germany.

Ray Whitney also had two assists for Canada, who gave up a one-goal lead in the first period before scoring four consecutive times to earn the victory.

Corey Perry, Kris Russell and Rene Bourque added goals for the Canadians.

Italy had a chance to capitalize on a pair of early Canadian miscues that resulted in a 5-on-3 power play. The Italians thought they had tied the game on a goal that slipped past Canadian goaltender Chris Mason, but further video review showed the puck did not completely cross the line.

Nonetheless, Italy’s Michele Strazzabosco drew the contest even after Corey Perry opened scoring at 2:43 in the opening period to give Canada a 1-0 lead.

Mason would later settle in, finishing the game with 23 saves, including one he made off Nicola Fontanive on a partial breakaway while short-handed. Mason shortened the angle nicely and left the Italian forward with little room to take a 2-1 lead.

Following Russell’s goal which gave Canada a one-goal advantage, Duchene increased the lead to two at 5:57 of the second after taking a pass inside the Italian blue line and ripped a shot short side into the net.

Duchene then capped his two-point effort by corralling a loose puck behind the net and feeding it to Stamkos, who redirected the pass past Italian goaltender Adam Russo.

Italy killed off a double minor combined with an additional penalty, which gave Canada a full two minutes of 5-on-3 action with the man advantage. Stamkos attempted to increase the lead as he fired several one-timers, but Russo maintained his strong presence in net to prevent suffering a further deficit.

Stamkos registered six shots and earned a plus-two rating in addition to skating nearly 18 minutes, logging the third-highest average of total ice time on the team.

Bourque rounded out the scoring with a late goal, sending a quick snap shot past a screened Daniel Bellissimo, who started the period in relief of Russo.

Lightning forward Steve Downie took two penalties in the game, while logging 9:38 in ice time.

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