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Canada Defeats France In Exhibition Game

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

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PARIS -- Chris Stewart scored the game-winning goal late in the third period to help Canada to a 3-2 victory over France in an exhibition game ahead of the IIHF world hockey championship.

Stewart beat Cristobal Huet on the power play with 1:39 left in regulation. Team captain Rick Nash and Jason Spezza had the other Canada goals.

"Our goal here is to get better every day," said Canadian assistant coach Peter DeBoer. "So it's nice to get a win and get a day closer to the tournament."

Kevin Hecquefeuille and Stephane Da Costa were the only French players to beat Canadian netminder Devan Dubnyk. An impressive crowd of 12,737 took in the action at Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy on Sunday.

Canada will play its final exhibition game Wednesday against the Czech Republic in Prague. The world championship runs April 29-May 15 in Bratislava and Kosice, Slovakia.

DeBoer said it was good for the players to shake off the rust and get their legs going after the overseas trip.

"We saw a lot of good stuff and some real buy-in from the guys trying to implement what we've been asking them to do," DeBoer said.

There are currently 19 players on the Canadian roster, a number that will likely rise as more NHL teams are eliminated from the post-season. Teams can officially name up to 23 players, including three goaltenders, for the preliminary round at the tournament. After that round, teams can have up to 25 players on their official rosters.

Canada is looking to atone for a disappointing seventh-place finish in Germany last May, the country's worst at a world championship since 1992.
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