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Canada holds off Czech Republic for third straight win

by Staff /

Edmonton Oilers teammates Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle each had a goal and an assist, and Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith made 22 saves Monday to lead Canada to a 6-3 win against host Czech Republic in the preliminary round of the 2015 IIHF World Championship at O2 Arena in Prague.

Tyler Toffoli (Los Angeles Kings) also had a goal and an assist, and Sean Couturier (Philadelphia Flyers), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Tyler Seguin (Dallas Stars) had the other goals as Canada (3-0-0-0) remained unbeaten in Group A with nine points.

"We got a couple of power play goals, which definitely helped us," captain Sidney Crosby told the IIHF website. "I thought it was a pretty close game, to be honest. It probably wasn’t a three-goal difference."

Couturier scored the go-ahead goal with 2:20 left in the second period, tipping in a Toffoli shot to give Canada a 3-2 lead.

The Canadians added on in the third, as Seguin beat Czech goalie Ondrej Pavelec (Winnipeg Jets) with a low shot under his glove for a power-play goal at 2:02 and Crosby scored on another man-advantage at 10:07.

Vladimir Sobotka scored with 2:24 remaining to bring the Czechs within 5-3 but Toffoli scored into an empty net with 1:29 left.

Eberle and Hall staked Canada to a 2-0 lead late in the first, but Martin Erat (Coyotes) redirected Jan Kovar's shot with 38 seconds left in the period to get the Czech Republic on the board and Martin Zatovic's goal with 4:15 remaining in the second lifted them into a short-lived tie.

Canada next plays Sweden on Wednesday, while the Czech Republic (1-0-1-1), which has four points, is back in action Thursday against France.

Sweden 8, Latvia 1: Loui Eriksson (Boston Bruins) scored three goals in Group A preliminary-round action at O2 Arena.

Joel Lundqvist (Dallas Stars) had a goal and an assist, and Filip Forsberg (Nashville Predators), Oscar Moller (Los Angeles Kings), Jacob Josefson (New Jersey Devils) and Victor Rask (Carolina Hurricanes) also scored. Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Arizona Coyotes) had two assists for Sweden (2-1-0-0).

Eriksson scored his second goal 10:05 into the second period to give Sweden a 2-0 lead. Sweden goaltender Jhonas Enroth (Dallas Stars) made 19 saves.

"If you look at the first 10 minutes, they were the better team," Sweden forward Anton Lander (Edmonton Oilers) told the IIHF website. "But then we took the game over, got some power play goals, and we got some momentum."

Sweden will next play Canada on Wednesday. Lauris Darzins scored the only goal for Latvia, which plays against Switzerland on Wednesday.

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