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Thompson, Brown, Purcell and Hedman lead teams to wins at Worlds

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning enjoyed a successful first day at the 2012 IIHF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland today.

Forwards Nate Thompson and JT Brown helped lead Team USA to a 7-2 victory over France, while Teddy Purcell and Team Canada earned a 3-2 win against Slovakia. Victor Hedman also assisted Team Sweden to a 3-1 opening-game victory over Norway.

Thompson and Brown kicked off this year's tournament with the first game of the day, which began at 5 a.m. local time.

Thompson, serving as alternate captain, didn't land on the score sheet in the match, but did record 10:40 in ice time and won 40 percent of his faceoffs, while Brown logged 2:41 in ice time and earned plus-1 rating.

France and the United States had played each other seven times previously and only once had France managed to beat the Americans. It was exactly 14 years ago to the day, on May 4, at the World Championships in Switzerland. Since then, the Americans had four straight wins, including last year's 3-2 win in Kosice, Slovakia.

Purcell, meanwhile, did have an assist on Andrew Ladd's goal in Team Canada's triumph, and earned a plus-1 rating in 12:19 of ice time. He also had two shots on the day.

Hedman was the last of the Bolts to wrap up the day's action, as he recorded 23:49 in ice time, good for second among all Team Sweden skaters behind only Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. Hedman went without a point, but did register four penalty minutes and finished the game with an even rating.

With the win, Sweden's all-time World Championship record against Norway, dating back to 1950, improved to 12-1-1.

The action continues tomorrow when Team USA faces Team Canada, while Sweden will take on the Czech Republic.

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