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World Championship

Canada defeats United States 5-1 in WC opener

Score five unanswered goals in preliminary round game

by @NHL /

Forward Matt Duchene had a goal and one assist, and goaltender Cam Talbot made 24 saves to help lead Canada to a 5-1 victory against the United States in a Group B preliminary round game of the 2016 IIHF World Championship on Friday at Yubileiny Arena in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Canada scored five unanswered goals after the United States took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Edmonton Oilers forward Patrick Maroon 4:54 into the first period.

Taylor Hall (Oilers), Brendan Gallagher (Montreal Canadiens), Boone Jenner (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Brad Marchand (Boston Bruins) also scored for Canada. Talbot (Oilers) made 14 saves in the second period. Keith Kinkaid (New Jersey Devils) made 28 saves for the United States.

"We have a young group, we have a hungry group," Canada coach Bill Peters told the IIHF website. "They are passionate and full of energy. We will continue to get better as the tournament progresses, but we are really pleased with our start."

United States center Auston Matthews, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's ranking of international skaters for the 2016 NHL Draft, seemed a bit tentative at the start but was more confident by the middle of the second.

Canada entered the game having beaten the United States 38 times in the 42 previous meetings in World Championship competition. The U.S. had won the previous game in Helsinki, Finland, at the 2012 World Championship, 5-4 in overtime.

Duchene (Colorado Avalanche) gave Canada a 3-1 lead Friday in the second period when he took a pass from defenseman Cody Ceci (Ottawa Senators), skated into the right circle and beat Kinkaid over the right shoulder with a wrist shot at 11:37.

"I think on my goal we were able to take away some of their ice with a good rush, and everyone was working hard," Duchene told NBCSN during the second intermission. "I thought our line with Connor McDavid (Oilers) and Marchand pushed the pace pretty well on the cycle."

Canada took a 4-1 lead in the third when Jenner scored off a wraparound at the right post after taking a pass from Ryan O'Reilly (Buffalo Sabres) at 5:54. O'Reilly stole the puck from United States defenseman and Sabres teammate Jake McCabe in the left-wing corner before setting up Jenner behind the net.

Marchand made it 5-1 with a shorthanded goal 11:16 into the third. Duchene made the play happen when he blocked an attempted pass by Matthews before sliding the puck to Marchand.

Hall and Gallagher, who turned 24 on Friday, scored in the first to give Canada a 2-1 lead.

"It was nice (to score on my birthday)," Gallagher said. "It's actually my little sister's birthday as well. I texted her and told her I'd get her one, so that's nice."

The United States plays Belarus in its next preliminary round game Saturday in St. Petersburg (1:15 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN). Canada plays Hungary at 5:15 a.m. ET Sunday.

"We've got to fix some things in the defensive zone," U.S. captain Matt Hendricks told the IIHF website. "Our structure broke down too many times tonight and gave them too many opportunities. A team with that type of high-end skill, they're going to find the back of the net."


Sweden 2, Latvia 1: Gustav Nyquist (Detroit Red Wings) scored the game-winner 4:06 into overtime in a Group A preliminary round game at the Ice Palace in Moscow.

Jimmie Ericsson gave Sweden a 1-0 lead 2:52 into the first period, but Latvia goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (Blue Jackets) kept his team within striking distance with 42 saves. Kristaps Sotnieks scored a power-play goal 12:29 into the third to tie the score. Sweden goalie Jacob Markstrom (Vancouver Canucks) made 20 saves.

Finland 6, Belarus 2: Patrik Laine, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of international skaters eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft, had two goals and three points and was named player of the game for Finland in Group B preliminary round action at Yubileiny Arena in St. Petersburg.

Laine scored all of his points in the second period when Finland built 4-1 lead. His first goal, off a give-and-go with Aleksander Barkov (Florida Panthers) gave Finland a 1-0 lead. Laine, 18, is the youngest player to score for Finland at the World Championship. Laine was named most valuable player of Liiga after leading Tappara to the league championship with 10 goals and 15 points in 18 playoff games.

Mikael Granlund (Minnesota Wild) had two goals and one assist, Mikko Koivu (Wild) had a goal and one assist, and Barkov had two assists. Finland is looking to become the first nation to win the World Junior Championship, the World Under-18 Championship and the World Championship in the same year.

Mikko Koskinen (New York Islanders) made 14 saves for Finland. Alexei Kalyuzhny and Andrei Stas scored for Belarus.

Czech Republic 3, Russia 0: Roman Cervenka, Michal Birner and Tomas Kundratek each scored and Dominik Furch made 25 saves in a Group A game at the Ice Palace in Moscow.

Kundratek scored 14:48 into the first period to give the Czech Republic a 1-0 lead over the hosts. Russia goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (Blue Jackets) made 24 saves. Russia center Pavel Datsyuk (Red Wings) took two shots on goal in 18:02 of ice time and left wing Artemi Panarin (Chicago Blackhawks) had one shot in 19:42.

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