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Worlds: Komarov helps Finland top U.S.

Matthews has one assist, Laine scoreless in matchup of top 2016 Draft prospects

by NHL.com @NHL / NHL.com

Leo Komarov (Toronto Maple Leafs) scored the game-winning goal 4:16 into the third period to lead Finland to a 3-2 win against the United States in a Group B preliminary-round game at the 2016 IIHF World Championship at Yubileiny Arena in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Monday.

The game saw the potential top two selections in the 2016 NHL Draft face each other. United States center Auston Matthews, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final rankings of international skaters for the 2016 draft, had one assist and two shots on goal in 19:09 of ice time. Finland right wing Patrik Laine, No. 2 on the list, had three shots on goal in 13:21 of ice time.

"It would have been nice to get a win tonight, but that is how it goes," Matthews told the IIHF website.

Despite being held without a point, Laine is tied with teammate Mikael Granlund (Minnesota Wild) for the tournament lead with six points.

"Patrik is a really good two-way player who makes smart decisions with the puck," Finland alternate captain Jussi Jokinen (Florida Panthers) said. "You see it the way he is playing here."

Finland took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Mikko Koivu (Wild) and Antti Pihlstrom. The United States cut the deficit to 2-1 when Frank Vatrano (Bruins) scored at 13:45. Laine turned the puck over inside the United States blue line and Matthews got it to Vatrano, whose slap shot beat Finland goalie Mikko Koskinen (16 saves).

After a scoreless second period, the U.S. tied the game 53 seconds into the third on a goal by defenseman Connor Murphy (Arizona Coyotes). Goalie Mike Condon (Montreal Canadiens) had 19 saves in the loss.

Finland, which has won all three of its games in regulation, is tied with Canada atop Group B with nine points, but Canada has the edge on tiebreaker with a plus-18 goal differential to plus-9 for Finland. The United States is fourth with three points following its second regulation loss of the tournament.

"Every team here wants to win," Laine said. "We have to keep going and playing our game, and I think anything is possible. But we have to keep working."

Finland next plays Hungary on Wednesday. The United States plays France on Thursday.

OTHER RESULTS:

Canada 8, Belarus 0 -- Ryan O'Reilly (Buffalo Sabres) had two goals, Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche) had a goal and two assists, and Derick Brassard (New York Rangers) and Corey Perry (Anaheim Ducks) each had a goal and an assist to lead Canada in a Group B preliminary-round game at Yubileiny Arena.

Canada, which has won all three of its games in regulation remains atop Group B with a tournament-leading plus-18 goal differential.

"There's a lot of offense, there's a lot of skill, there's a lot of youth," Perry told the IIHF website. "I've said this since Day One: we're excited to be here, put this jersey on and play for our country."

Perry, O'Reilly, Duchene and Taylor Hall (Edmonton Oilers) scored in the second period to give Canada a 5-0 lead, chasing Belarus goalie Kevin Lalande, who made 32 saves.

Mark Stone (Arizona Coyotes) and Michael Matheson (Florida Panthers) each had a goal, and Cody Ceci (Ottawa Senators), Connor McDavid (Oilers) and Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets) had two assists apiece for Canada. Cam Talbot (Oilers) made 13 saves.

Canada next plays Germany on Thursday. Belarus plays Slovakia on Wednesday.

Czech Republic 4, Sweden 2 -- The Czech Republic scored four unanswered goals, including three in the second period, to erase a two-goal deficit in a comeback win in a Group A preliminary-round game at Ice Palace in Moscow.

Michal Birner had two goals and David Pastrnak (Boston Bruins) and Jan Kovar scored for the Czechs, who top Group A with eight points following two regulation wins and one overtime victory.

Goals by Robert Rosen and Martin Lundberg gave Sweden a 2-0 lead after the first period. Jacob Markstrom (Vancouver Canucks) made 29 saves in the loss, which dropped Sweden to third place in the group with five points.

Russia 4, Latvia 0 -- Artemi Panarin (Chicago Blackhawks) had two goals and two assists to lead Russia in a Group A preliminary-round game at Ice Palace in Moscow.

Panarin gave Russia a 1-0 lead in the second period and then assisted on goals by Evgeni Dadonov in the second and Vadim Shipachyov in the third. Panarin, a 2016 Calder Trophy finalist, scored again in the third period.

Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings) had an assist and Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus Blue Jackets) made 27 saves for Russia.

Russia, which has won two straight after losing to the Czech Republic in its opener, is second in Group A with six points. It next plays Denmark on Thursday. Latvia, which has lost two games in overtime and has two points, plays Switzerland on Wednesday.

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